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BYU football ups efforts to recruit Polynesians

Ex-Cougar Gabriel Reid (42), here in action in 2002, says BYU is doing more to pursue Polynesian players now. (Jason Olson)

Growing up in Samoa, Gabriel Reid was a decent football player and a member of the LDS faith. It was expected in Samoa that any player with talent who was a Mormon would play football at BYU.

"That's just the way it was back then," said Reid, who played for the Cougars from 2000-02 and the Chicago Bears from 2003-06. His brother Spencer also played for BYU.

Today, it appears BYU's football staff is trying take advantage of that interest by Polynesian families and their ties to the church. Many big and small college football programs have tapped into Polynesian athletic talent over the decades.

University of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who committed to BYU out of Bingham High, is projected by some to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

Recruiting Polynesia? Local talent?

Nobody does it better than Utah and BYU.

It appears BYU is working hard to use its advantages and shift more attention to how it manages and approaches players of Polynesian descent.

Head coach Bronco Mendenhall recently dispatched offensive coordinator Brandon Doman to Samoa for a goodwill tour.

"They rolled out the red carpet for him," said Reid.

For BYU and Utah, recruiting South Pacific bloodlines has paid off big time and is a mainstay of their respective football programs. Of Utah's seven commitments for 2013 so far, it appears six recruits pledged are of Polynesian decent. Of BYU's 19, eight fall into this ethnic group.



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