BYU added another intriguing signee to its 2015 recruiting class late Friday evening by signing New Zealand rugby player Manase Tu’ungafasi. Tu’ungafasi chose BYU over Utah and Oregon State and will add his 6-foot-7-inch, 322-pound frame to the Cougars’ offensive line this fall.
“We are excited to welcome Manase as the newest member of the BYU football program,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in a press release. “He is an excellent athlete with exceptional size coming from a rugby background out of New Zealand. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Manase, and we look forward to helping him develop as a football player here at BYU.”
Tu’ungafasi attended Massey High School and was a star rugby player for Auckland Academy. In 2014 he participated in the rugby Junior World Championships as part of the Samoa Under-20 team. Tu’ungafasi reportedly passed up professional rugby contracts for an opportunity to play football for BYU.
Tu’ungafasi will join the Cougars for fall camp and is anticipated to play on the offensive line.
The BYU coaching staff helped former running back Paul Lasike make the transition from rugby to football with success. Mendenhall and his staff hope Tu’ungafasi can follow suit and make an impact for the Cougars.