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BYU football recruiting mines Pacific, signs OL Manase Tu'ungafasi from New Zealand

The big rugby athlete chose BYU over Utah and Oregon State as BYU continues to expand recruiting in the Pacific.

BYU announced a late addition to the 2015 recruiting class Friday night as the Cougars signed Manase Tu'ungafasi of Auckland, New Zealand to play offensive line.

Three months after making the signing-day splash inking of Motekiai Langi of Tonga, BYU made public the signing Tu'ungafasi, who was also being recruited by Utah and Oregon State.

As we learned on signing day about Langi, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi went to several pacific isles a couple years ago. Unlike Langi, who Kaufusi saw briefly in Tonga but somewhat fell into the laps of the coaches due to his cousin Harvey, Tu'ungafasi has been a target for quite some time.

Jordan also reported on Twitter learning from that visit that Tu'ungafasi has turned down professional rugby contracts to come to the states to attend school and play football.

At 6-foot-7, 322 pounds, Tu'ungafasi seems like a natural fit to play offensive line, which is what he will practice when he joins the team for fall camp in August. BYU has depth needs at that position, so it makes sense. But, taking a look at photos of him on his Twitter avatar and Facebook photos, he doesn't look like an offensive lineman. I'd like to see him spend time with Frank Wintrich training and see what he can do as a defensive end.

From a list of player profiles from his high school rugby side, we learn Manase's nickname is apparently "Die Hard," he likes chess, and his ambition in life is to "grab life by the nuts."

manase tu'ungafasi rugby profile table

In addition to Langi and Tu'ungafasi, BYU will also have New Zealander and rugby player Jonny Linehan vying for the punting job.