By Josh Cann
Keenan Pili grew up a BYU fan and played his high school ball at Timpview as a safety. Halfway through his Senior year he was switched to outside linebacker, coincidentally, the position he was being recruited as by BYU. When Coach Poppinga started recruiting him, he was more than thrilled to listen.
“Coach Poppinga initially recruited me, and when the coaching staff changed a couple weeks went by and Coach Tuiaki called me on the phone and coach Lamb called a couple times as well making sure I was still 100% committed.” Pili said.
Sometimes when the coaching staff changes, prospects can get lost in translation, but they were able to retain Keenan and his firm commitment to Cougars.
Keenan Pili is 6’2, 205lbs and is considered the 7th best FBS prospect in the entire state of Utah according to the top 20 rankings on Rivals.com, right ahead of BYU prospect Fua Pututau who is ranked 8th, and BYU commits Drew Jensen and Jackson Kaufusi who are 9th and 10th respectively.
BYU beat out Utah and Cal who were in his top 3. Pilitook an official visit to BYU on the weekend of January 22nd. He also had offers from Utah St, Vanderbilt, Washington St, and Nevada to name a few.
“I haven’t taken any other official visits nor am I going to, I know BYU is where I’m going.” Pili said.
Sitake and Detmer recently took an in-home visit and shot the breeze and asked if he was still 100% committed and he definitely is.
“There’s a big list of why I chose BYU. How good the football team can be, the relationships with the coaches, and BYU has an amazing education, and of course the religous aspect & environment.” Pili said.
Keenan’s older brother Trajan Pili committed to the Cougars in 2013, played a year, and comes home from his mission in a week. Trajan and Keenan are both slated to play OLB for the Cougs. Keenan was able to make some friends and connections on the current BYU team from his older brother Trajan.
Keenan is no stranger to BYU as he grew up a BYU fan and is very familiar with it’s great linebacker tradition.
“I grew up a BYU fan and Kyle Van Noy is who I want to be like. Just his instincts on the field as a football player amazes me. As a child I really liked Troy Palamalu from the Steelers. I played safety in high school, and they switched me to outside linebacker half way through my Senior year, so those are the two I’d say I aspire to be like.” Pili said.
Outside of his goals on the football field, he aspires for a little bit more.
“My goals when I get to BYU is really to be the best player and person I can be on and off the field. That’s been a motto for me throughout for me throughout my life, be great on and off the field.” Pili said.
“They have everything that I want. It doesn’t come down to one part. They have a great education and a great football program and has a family feel on the team.”
Pili is LDS and will play a year in 2016, then will go on his mission in 2017, slated to be back for the Spring/Summer of 2019.
One thing is for certain, Keenan Pili is a great fit for BYU.
Maybe even a perfect one.