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Provo • BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi is a busy man these days, and not just because he is preparing the Cougars to play against Memphis in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22 in Florida.
These days, Kaufusi is playing two roles as a fan and supportive parent, and as a coach.
Six months ago, it appeared that Kaufusi would have two sons playing football for BYU in 2014 defensive end-turned-linebacker Bronson Kaufusi, a junior, and returned missionary Corbin Kaufusi, a freshman. But Corbin grew several inches while on his church mission in Korea to about 6-foot-10, and decided after a couple sessions of pickup basketball over the summer that he would rather play that sport moving forward.
He is now getting significant minutes for the BYU basketball team, even more than Bronson did when he helped fill a big-man void in 2012-13. Against Weber State last Saturday, Corbin scored six points and had four rebounds in 14 minutes. That after playing 18 minutes against Utah.
"I love it," Steve Kaufusi said Monday. "It is not every day your kids get to do something like that. I am grateful for them, and who they are, and the balance in their lives. When they get to play at this level, every chance you get, you get out and enjoy them."
The coach admits it is tougher emotionally to watch from the stands, with no control over the outcome, than from the sidelines or press box, but says he's the calmest of the Kaufusis at basketball games.
"My wife [Michelle], she gets excited," he said. "I have to say, 'calm down.' But it has been really enjoyable [watching Corbin] for us as a family."
Steve Kaufusi said Corbin just grew too tall, and is too slender, to be an offensive lineman anymore. After a couple days watching him play pickup basketball games, Bronson was convinced that a sport switch was the only way to go.
"Bronson took him into the gym the second or third day after he was home to see what he's got, and he comes home and says, 'Dad, Corb has to play basketball. He's a vertical player and he can really, really jump,'" Steve Kaufusi said. "After a month or so, I was like, 'hey, it is your life. I will support you, no matter what you want to do.' So I am excited for him."
BYU won a significant recruiting battle Monday morning when coaches got a commitment from offensive lineman Kieffer Longson, a 6-foot-6, 300-pound senior from Dougherty High in San Ramon, Calif. Kieffer narrowed his choices to BYU, Ohio State, UCLA and Utah before giving the Cougars the nod.
Longson is a four-star recruit, according to Scout.com, and the No. 4 tackle in the West. He told the website that he plans to go on an LDS Church mission before enrolling at BYU.
Last week, Stansbury High safety Zayne Anderson committed to BYU after having previously pledged to Utah State. The 6-3, 195-pound Anderson is rated as the No. 2 safety prospect in Utah by Scout.com.
Also last weekend, Washington State running back Squally Canada announced he is transferring to BYU. Canada, who played high school football in Milpitas, Calif., and was a four-star recruit, will have to sit out a year, per NCAA transfer rules, and will be a sophomore in 2016.
Freshman center Tejan Koroma was named to the ESPN True Freshman All-America Team on Monday, three days after receiving the same honor from 247 sports. … Kaufusi said that junior defensive lineman Logan Taele, a walk-on from St. George's Dixie High School, has been awarded a scholarship.... Inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell said senior Zac Stout and junior Manoa Pikula will start at ILB in the bowl game.