Loyal Cougars

OL LeRoy Sitake Tanoai to join BYU football for 2015 season

ESPN 960 Sports broke the news today that BYU OL signee Manase Tu’ungafasi will not join the team for the 2015 season as expected:

The guys at ESPN 960 added that Tu’ungafasi’s most likely destination for the near future is Snow College:

Later this afternoon, it became apparent that BYU has already found Tu’ungafasi’s replacement when ESPN 960 announced that:

LeRoy Sitake Tanoai, half-brother of former Utah Defensive Coordinator (and former BYU running back) Kalani Sitake, was a highly recruited offensive guard out of high school. Tanoai claimed offers from BYU, Utah, Nebraska, UCLA, Hawaii, and Washington as a member of the Class of 2013 at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. Rated as the #32 offensive guard in the country at the time, LeRoy announced his commitment to the University of Utah in April of 2012 and was a strong commit, not listening much to schools that approached him after that point. He seemingly had a strong desire to further his football career with his half-brother as one of his coaches. However, due to the 6’4″, 280-pound Tanoai’s desire to serve a mission before enrolling in college, Utah did not have him sign a Letter of Intent on Signing Day in 2013.

Tanoai recently returned home from serving in the Fiji Suva Mission for the LDS Church. On July 13, he changed his Facebook profile picture to the following image:

Along with the photo, LeRoy posted comment responses including “I’m going to BYU now” and “I plan to start this fall semester.” Tanoai will have his full five years of eligibility as he begins his football career with the Cougars this fall.

My takeaways from today’s news are as follows:

1. ESPN 960 is quickly becoming one of the leaders in breaking BYU football news. Ben Criddle, Jeremy Mauss, and Zak Hicken are doing a great job finding the latest in BYU football news even during the offseason. They have tweeted about Manase and LeRoy, as well as the latest GA hires in Jan Jorgensen and JD Falslev before any other media outlet. If you’re not following them on Twitter yet, do yourself a favor: @espn960sports.

2. Utah’s policy of not signing “Mission first” players to NLI’s has come back to bite them once again. You might remember that since Harvey Langi never signed a NLI, he was able to transfer to BYU post-mission and play immediately without falling subject to the “Riley Nelson rule,” which requires transferring returned missionaries to sit out a year post-mission only if they signed a NLI and enrolled at the school pre-mission. I wonder if Utah has since changed this policy and allows outgoing missionaries to sign with their high school class before beginning their missionary service.

3. It remains unclear if Tanoai was promised a scholarship at BYU, or if he had planned to walk-on regardless of financial aid availability. Either way, with the news of Tu’ungafasi’s absence from the team in 2015, combined with Tanoai’s obvious talent and his heavy recruitment in high school, we have to figure that he will get Manase’s recently vacated scholarship, especially considering that he plays the same position that coaches had slated for Tu’ungafasi.


Be sure to check out LeRoy Sitake Tanoai’s high school highlights here: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/200130/highlights/42920379/v2