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Holladay • Homographs are words that are spelled the same but which have different meanings. "Bass" is either a deep voice or type of guitar, but it can also be a fish. "Tear" is a rip in clothing, or a drop of water from the eye.
Olympus junior defensive linemen Cameron and Nate Latu, who both are committed to play at BYU, are homographs in their own right. They're identical twins, resembling one another in physical form, but they're defined in entirely different ways.
Cameron, with long beach hair, is flamboyant. "My hair is garbage right now," he said jokingly. "I'm in the ugly stage right now. I'm trying to grow it out, see how it looks. It's the longest I've ever had in my life."
Nate, with a tightly kept afro, is reluctant to open up. "I'm a good guy to be around," he said succinctly.
"That's the main difference," said Titans coach Aaron Whitehead. "Cam loves loves to be out there. If we're trying to have a team meeting, and I have to ask them to be quiet, it's usually Cam's voice not in a negative way but he loves to talk. Nate, not so much."
One major similarity between the two is athletic ability. After moving from a small Minnesota town which Nate described as "cold and boring" the twins, who've played rugby for years, picked up organized football for the first time in 2013.
Although raw, they've flourished behind the tutelage of former BYU linemen Matt and Ryan Reynolds, who coach at Olympus. Playing defensive end, Cameron has collected 43 tackles, 13 for a loss, and seven sacks, while Nate, who has primarily played defensive tackle but is now seeing time on the opposite end, has 10 tackles, two for a loss, and one sack for the 5-1 Titans.
"You take a look at their size. They're 6-foot-5. If they put their arms out, they get a manicure their fingers hit the floor 'cause they're so long," Whitehead said. "It's seemed like each year they're here, they make drastic improvements and keep getting better. It's scary how good they can be."
In many ways, the game of football has bonded the two. Their typical brotherly relationship is exacerbated by their distinct personalities.
"Having a twin is definitely different than having a normal brother," Cameron says.
"We fight a lot," Nate explains. "It's just random stuff. It's not really big things."
Tension in the Latu house boiled over several weeks ago, specifically with Nate and his mother, prompting him to move in with his cousin.
"We've got that figured out," said Nate, who declined to elaborate on specifics. "It's me and my brother, too, but we figured that out. Things are good now, but our past was kind of a struggle."
Nate anticipates returning home in the near future, while Cameron admitted he misses his brother. "It's a big change when he's gone," he said.
Whitehead tailored his interaction and instruction to help each individual navigate through the change, especially with Nate, who, with the stress of home life, let his studies slip, but has since approached the classroom with more motivation.
"You need to make sure they're both being taken care of," Whitehead said. "Also, with Nate living with a cousin, making sure that his basic needs are met in terms of meals and clothes and everything else. We're happy to help out in any way, and we have helped."
Steadily, Whitehead has witnessed an evolution in the brothers' relationship. Nate committed to play for the Cougars two days before Cameron, who said one of the reasons he pledged to BYU is because he wanted to continue playing alongside his brother.
"I'm not going to lie to you," Cameron said. "It's pretty special playing with him right now. I only see him during school and football. It's cool to joke around with him sometimes."
After the Northridge game, Cameron publicly praised Nate for his performance. Whitehead was taken by surprise with the gesture because "they're not really vocal in their support of one another."
"I think that was the turning point, where I saw them really standing up for each other," Whitehead said. "… I think there is a lot on the line with both of these guys. I think they realize that, and I think the love for one another is absolutely coming out at this point."
The twins continue to grow together, on and off the field. They're beginning to understand different personalities can be compatible, but most importantly, there is no interpretation to their last name.
It's not a homograph. It has one definition to them. "Latu" means they will always be brothers.
About the Latus
• Juniors Cameron and Nate Latu are identical twins playing defensive line for Olympus.
• Both are committed to play for BYU post-graduation and have helped transform the Titans' defense into one of the best units in the 4A classification.
• Through the game of football, they've strengthened what had been a fragile relationship.
Prep football schedule
• Alta at Skyridge
• Mountain View at Corner Canyon
• Provo at Orem
• Timpanogos at Timpview
All games 7 p.m. except where noted
• Bear River at Logan
• Ben Lomond at Tooele
• Bountiful at East
• Box Elder at Ogden
• Canyon View at Juab
• Cedar at Snow Canyon
• Cottonwood at Bingham
• Delta at Manti
• Desert Hills at Dixie
• Duchesne at Layton Christian, 4 p.m.
• Fremont at Northridge
• Grand at Enterprise
• Granger at Davis
• Grantsville at Juan Diego
• Gunnison at American Leadership
• Herriman at Pleasant Grove
• Highland at Woods Cross
• Hunter at West
• Jordan at West Jordan
• Judge at Park City
• Layton at Syracuse
• Lone Peak at American Fork
• Milford at Kanab
• Monticello at Altamont
• Monument Valley at Newcomb (N.M.)
• Morgan at Carbon
• Murray at Kearns
• North Sevier at Beaver
• North Summit at Millard
• Olympus at Hillcrest
• Parowan at Diamond Ranch
• Pine View at Hurricane
• Rich at Wayne
• Richfield at North Sanpete
• Riverton at Westlake
• Roy at Mountain Crest
• Salem Hills at Payson
• San Juan at South Sevier
• Skyline at Cyprus
• South Summit at Summit Academy
• Stansbury at Ridgeline
• Taylorsville at Copper Hills
• Uintah at Maple Mountain
• Union at Emery
• Viewmont at Lehi
• Wasatch at Springville
• Weber at Clearfield