The Huddle: Faith, Family and Football


The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success.

Middle linebacker and tight end Butch "The Butcher" Pau'u of Servite High (Anaheim, Calif.) talks about choosing the right program not only for collegiate football but also for life preparation. Pau'u is a student with a 3.7 grade point average and has aspirations of a future in medicine. The 6-foot, 220-pounder committed to BYU in June over scholarship offers from Nebraska, Iowa State, Washington, Oregon State and Colorado -- largely because of his religious faith as a Mormon.

Playing solely on defense last season, Pau'u made over 100 tackles, registered five sacks, three interceptions and recovered two fumbles to lead the Friars to a 14-1 record and a state runner-up finish in California's the large schools division.

Pau'u, whose Friars just lost their first game in a close battle to Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman, listed education, environment, the coach, family's opinion and your decision among the five things for recruits should look for in selecting the right college.

"The first thing should be crucial is the education and how well-rounded the school is for academics because not many people are going to make it to the NFL," said Pau'u. "So after your college career, you could be done with football. So you want to be able to move on in life after football."

Second, said Pau'u, would be the campus environment, including "friends among teammates who will keep you on the right track, tell you the truth and help you to stay out of trouble."

The coach is third, said Pau'u, who will play for Bronco Mendenhall, followed by your family's influence.

"You want a coach who will tell you the truth when you're doing wrong, and who won't just baby you and will be in your ear, letting you know that you have to grow up or back down. You want to mature and to be able to handle life like a man," said Pau'u.

"Your family is next, because in most cases, they've helped you to get to that level, and they're the ones you thank. They're the ones who will be there by your side when all is said and done."

Finally, the recruit's own feelings, which, for Pau'u, boiled down to his faith.

"For me, I'm a Mormon, so it came down to being given the opportunity to serve my mission and still have a scholarship in hand, being able to play football," said Pau'u. "That was a big part of choosing BYU for me."

ROLE MODELs: Yepi and Tupou Pau'u, father and mother. "I've played football since I was seven, for 10 years now. My dad was my coach on and off the field, and he played linebacker at San Jose State. With chores, he taught me how to be a leader not a follower on and off the field and how to be a man. My mom is the most humble person on the face of the earth. She helps us with homework and reminds us to have God first, family second, education and football after that."