The Kaufusi name and legacy in the State of Utah for football, is a big one. Both the University of Utah and BYU have the name etched in their record books. For the Utes though, it had been almost two decades since the last one Donned the drum and feather.
Not only that, never before, had a Kaufusi played for both schools. Until now…
Enter Devin Kaufusi, son of Steve, the longtime BYU coach (16 season) who also coached at Utah from 1994-2001.
The decision to transfer from BYU wasn’t easy, Kaufusi had committed to the old staff before he left for his LDS mission, but the school has been good to his entire family for decades.
“I was able to do the first year and then the second year within those years I just felt that wasn’t the right fit or a place I remember committing to,” said Kaufusi. “So, with that, and other off-field factors it was of my best interests and my family agreed with me that transferring somewhere else would be better and Utah seemed like the ideal fit for me.
Kaufusi entered the transfer portal the week before the pandemic hit and committed to Utah on April 8th of last year.
“Utah was ideal and it’s been a perfect fit so far I’ve been loving it,” he said. “The guys and the coaching staff and support staff has been an absolute dream to work with.”
To the coaching staff, it’s been the ideal fit and then some, as Kaufusi has totally transformed and fit in seamlessly to a new position, moving from end to tackle.
“[Devin] got here last year at 240 poinds and now he is 290 pounds,” said defensive ends coach Lewis Powell. “He’s been awesome and he has not lost any of his explosiveness and is a force out there. We love how he has developed in a short time.”
According to Kaufusi, it’s the standard of excellence that’s been developed over the years with the defensive tackle group, that’s helped him thrive.
“With inside move to the tackle, there has been a little learning curve and stuff and coach Pouha has helped me work at the interior and there’s a high standard which I’m super grateful for,” said Kaufusi. “I’m just proud that he’s able to push me in and really work with me to reach a high standard.”
Kaufusi’s physical evolution over the last year, with gaining 50 pounds, isn’t shocking to him. He’s a gym rat who likes food and he’s also aware of similar evolutions with his Ute uncles: Jeff, Doug, and Jason.
“I love working out but it’s hard finding enough food for me and the U does a great job of feeding us here which is awesome,” said Kaufusi. “I remember a similar thing happening to my uncles. My dad kept saying they were all pretty skinny guys but as soon as they got Utah and had the cafeteria available to them they all put on their weight and became the players they were. I was 295 at the start of camp. I’m around 290 right now and so hopefully to put on break 300 between this offseason and fall camp.”
“Last year was crazy for everyone especially in the college football world. For me, I was able to take a great opportunity by coming up to the U. I had my shoulder surgery that year in January so I was able to have some more time to recover from that and then be able to contribute in the season last year.