Malosi Te’o made several sacrifices when he served a two-year mission for the Mormon church.
He recently made another sacrifice, relinquishing a scholarship at Brigham Young University to join the University of Hawaii football team as a walk-on running back.
"There are grants, and I can get a job here and there," Te’o said. "I’m going to make it work."
Te’o redshirted as a freshman in 2009. In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Te’o will not be allowed to play in any games for the Warriors this season. But he may practice, attend meetings and work out with UH teammates.
Te’o rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a Kahuku senior in 2005. In February 2006, he signed a letter of intent with Nevada-Las Vegas.
But he never enrolled at UNLV, and instead began his church mission in February 2007. He was assigned to New York City, working primarily in Brooklyn and Queens.
"I loved it," Te’o said of the self-funded mission.
Missionaries are limited in the number of telephone calls to their families. They are not allowed to be contacted by a college coach during the mission. Te’o used one of his rare collect calls to ask his family to notify BYU coaches of his interest in their football program.
Te’o enrolled in BYU last year. But while redshirting, Te’o and his wife, Lauren, decided they missed their families. Lauren was raised in Laie.
"I did like it up there (in Provo)," Te’o said. "I had a good time. But I’m excited to be back home. This is where my wife and I originally wanted to be."
Te’o secured his release from BYU, then contacted UH associate head coach Rich Miano.
Te’o said sitting out this year will allow him "to get settled."
After this year, he will have three years to play three seasons.
At 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds, he plans to remain at running back despite the growing competition. He also is prepared for the most basic role of the lone back in the Warriors’ four-wide offense.
"I love to block," he said.
For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.