Bronson Kaufusi- Standout
This story was originally published in the BYU-ECU football game program on October 10, 2015.
Intransitive verb| Ëˆstand auÌ‡t
1. To be prominent or conspicuous
2. To be stubborn in resolution or resistance
1. A person or thing that is better or more important than the others in a group
(Both words defined by Merriam-Webster online)
Kaufusi. It’s a unique name, so it definitely stands out.
There also happens to be a legacy of good athletes with that last name who are standout people.
Lately, however, Bronson seems to be the Kaufusi standout.
Senior Bronson Kaufusi has been making headlines this off-season with his recent switch from linebacker to defensive end. The senior started his career at BYU as a defensive end, his true position, but was asked to switch to linebacker his junior year.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced this spring that Kaufusi would be switching back to his former position. He later announced that Bronson had been voted the defensive captain by the team for the year.
The news definitely makes Kaufusi stand out, but throughout all areas of his life, Bronson Kaufusi is a standout.
Bronson Kaufusi is humble. He never takes the credit for anything he does well. It’s always the product of someone else.
He also is very quick to give the credit to God for all that is right in his life.
Kaufusi is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He chose to postpone his football career for two years after graduating high school for a mission in Auckland, New Zealand.
Many of the beliefs that he learned on his mission he has applied to his game.
“If you can involve your faith in football, it’s better,” Kaufusi said. “If you line up, you don’t know what happens until it does happen. Being able to have faith on and off the football field makes you a better person, a better player, and in an overall sense when talking about school, a better institution.”
Faith also extends for Kaufusi beyond his religion in this situation. Not once has he complained about playing any position, and he’s played a few.
He’s never been worried about playing a new position either. He has full confidence in his team, especially his coaches.
“I’m confident in my coaches,” Kaufusi said. “I trust them. They help me out a lot. If you can learn more positions, it’s better for your game.”
In 2014, when it was announced that Kaufusi would switch to the linebacker position, he had nothing but positive things to say about the position change.
“I’m excited,” said Kaufusi about the position move to BYU Sports nation in a 2014 interview, “I just want to be able to rush. They’re putting me in the position where I can best use my skill set.”
When he was asked if he liked switching to linebacker, he just smiled.
“Anything that you do is for the better of the team,” Kaufusi said.
He had the same reaction when he it was announced he would be switched back to the defensive line. But, his smile told us which position he preferred.
“I love it,” said Bronson in an interview this year at BYU Media Day. “It’s more natural. I’m built for this position on the defense.”
His father, defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, is excited for the switch as well.
“This is a new season for Bronson and a new opportunity,” he said. “It’s a new game with new blood. You hope he stays healthy and executes whatever scheme Bronco gives him and plays well. I’m excited for him to live in the moment and give a 100 percent.”
Bronson’s faith extends beyond his personal faith. Many of the players have a lot of faith in Kaufusi.
“I love seeing the way Bronson leads and how hard he works,” quarterback Taysom Hill said. “That’s really how he leads, just by working hard. It rubs off on the defensive players as well. But, it’s kind of like a love-hate relationship. I hate it because when you line up, and you see Bronson on the other side of the ball, you know it’s on. In the end, I love it, because he makes me a better quarterback and he only gives out positive vibes.”
For Bronson, it’s only a matter of when the good will come, both on and off the field.
It has never been a question of if Bronson Kaufusi would play football. It was only a question of where.
“Growing up, football was around all the time,” he reflects. “I remember going to the Utah games when my dad was coaching there. When we came over here, I remember coming over here to games. I’ve watched a lot of football games growing up.”
Football is a family affair that extends beyond his immediate family. All of his uncles on both sides have played the game, including his mom’s brother who played on the 1984 championship team here at BYU.
Bronson loves having so many family members that have played the game.
“Everyone in the family just wants me to be better,” he said. “Football is just an opportunity where lots of growth has happened not only with me, but my family as well. They can relate with me because they’ve been there. They can talk it out with me.”
If you ask Bronson any question about his success or what means the most to him, his response will always be about his family. You won’t meet another football player who brings up his family so often.
They were also influential in helping him decide to play for BYU. The senior is full of gratitude in his family’s role in letting him make the decision on his own, but offering guidance when needed.
“All my family is super supportive to me of chasing my dream,” he said. “Whatever game I’m playing, my whole family is there. They show support and they want you to fulfill your dreams. They’re all pulling for me.”
He also credits his hard work to watching his parents throughout his life. When Steve Kaufusi was first getting into his coaching career, he would often have to take another job to support the family.
Bronson said that’s taught him more of a lesson than anything else in his life.
“My dad worked multiple jobs when he first got into coaching when he was at the bottom of the totem pole,” he said. “He had five kids, and he had to work hard for us. And he did. So did my mom, especially around the house. I’m grateful to them.”
He’s a family man just like his father. When the players were asked to fill out a questionnaire this year, they were asked what possession they would keep if they had to sell all of their possessions.
Kaufusi’s response? He would keep his wedding ring.
Hard work pays off. Bronson’s been teaching us that.
The defensive lineman has been listed as a candidate for fourdifferent awards this pre-season, including the Chuck Bednarik Award for the collegiate defensive player of the year. His 64 career solo tackles and 15.5 career sacks have contributed to that.
He may seem calm and easygoing off the field, but watch Kaufusi make a big play and you’ll see the fiery side of the lineman. He is also is fiery when talking about the team.
“We want to be the best, but we need to train in that level,” he said. “From now until the end of the season, we need to be training like the best.”
Coach Kaufusi couldn’t be more proud of his son and his hard work.
“I’m proud of him for who he is,” he said. “In football, there are always things you can do better, but he’s worked hard and is in good shape. But more than that, he’s a good kid. I keep telling my kids that football is such a small portion of your life. He’s working hard in school to graduate in December, and if you don’t see them off the field, you don’t see how hard they work.”
Bronson will never take his time playing here for granted, no matter what comes of this season.
“It’s always been a part of my life, he said. “Some people think, what’s football good for? I feel like it’s taught me so much about life. I think it’s taught me more about life than a lot of other things would. Being around a dad that loves and coaches football, it adds motivation. You want to be like your dad and do the things that he’s doing. I’m doing that right now. It’s a dream come true.”
There’s never a day off for Bronson Kaufusi. But it seems to us that he would prefer it that way.
Bronson isn’t the only athlete in his family. Every single member of the Kaufusi family has participated in an activity while at school. Take a look at their family tree.
· Steve Kaufusi, Bronson’s father, played defensive end for the Cougars from 1985-1987, after he moved from Dixie State College in Utah.
· Bronson’s mother, the former Michelle Garrick, was a Cougarette here for her four years of school. However, Bronson assures us she’s the biggest football fan in the family.
· Alexis Kaufusi, the oldest of the Kaufusi children, played basketball for the Cougars for four years, from 2008-2012. She went 149 out of 315 on field goals and had a free throw percentage of 58.
· Corbin Kaufusi is currently a sophomore for the BYU men’s basketball team. The 6-foot-10-inch center had a team high 34 blocks last season.
· Bronson’s younger brother, Devin, has committed to play football for the Cougars after he serves an LDS mission in Germany. He will return for the 2018 season.
· Bronson little sister and twin to Devin, Daryl, has recently begun her freshman season as a goalie for the BYU-Hawaii women’s soccer team.
· Bronson also married an athlete as well. His wife, Hilary, was a goalie for the BYU women’s soccer team.
BYU football wrapped up its first week of fall camp with its fifth practice on Saturday morning.