A number of different BYU football newcomers generated buzz when they arrived in Provo for the 2014 fall camp, but perhaps no one did it more than Cougar sophomore linebacker Harvey Langi.
After a great career at Bingham, Langi elected to go to Utah and played a season for the Utes as a running back before leaving on his LDS mission. When he returned, he made the decision to go to BYU instead.
“There was a lot of spiritual things and personal things,” Langi said after Tuesday’s practice. “I feel like this is the best place for me to succeed as an athlete and as a man.”
He said that he doesn’t feel there is any lingering resentment or hard feelings with the Utah program.
“We’ll always have a love and respect for each other,” he said. “I feel like I’ve given their program all I had when I was there, and vice versa.”
Since he’s arrived in Provo, he said he feels like he’s gotten what he was looking for.
“It’s been great,” he said. “I love it. The best way I can describe BYU is that it’s the best. I love being here, I love all my teammates, I love my coaches, the program, everything about it is great.”
When asked about the decision to play linebacker instead of running back, Langi said it was a situation of finding out where he would be most useful.
“I just feel like I’ve grown a little bit,” he said. “I wanted to be where I could best help the team and they feel like middle linebacker is the best fit for me. It’s fun trying to learn it. It’s exciting. There are a lot of guys who are very hungry for the ball, who are very hyped. It’s been a little different but football is football. You have to be coachable and work on getting better.”
Langi didn’t rule out switching sides again -- something guys like Michael Alisa, Michael Davis and Tuni Kanuch have done -- but said it would depend on the situation.
“I don’t have that call any more,” he said. “If they see that I could help the team out better on that side, they’ll put me there. I’ll just take it day-by-day and try my hardest.”
One of the aspects he’s enjoyed is being back on the same team with former Miner teammates like Remington Peck, Kanuch and Manoa Pikula.
“It’s the best,” Langi said. “I love seeing all the old high school teammates and playing with them. I love seeing how they’ve grown, how much stronger and faster and more football smart they are. They have come along way and it’s great playing next to them.”
He added that Pikula has done a lot to help him get acclimated to playing linebacker.
“Manoa has taken my under his wing,” Langi said. “He is very smart at finding the ball. He can sniff it out. He’s very good and very physical at shedding blocks. I’m trying to learn those type of things. As a running back, you are trying to get away from that. As a defensive player, it’s all about engaging and using your hands.”
Langi said that he’s ready to go and excited to get a shot at Texas this weekend.