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Langi Transferring to BYU No Big Surprise

8 July 2014 Brett Richins
Harvey Langi reportedly plans to transfer to BYU.

Harvey Langi reportedly plans to transfer to BYU.

A Deseret News article by former BYU star Vai Sikahema on Monday regarding Harvey Langi’s plans to transfer from Utah to BYU has created quite a firestorm of conversation and opinion over the past 24 hours.

However, Langi’s desire to become a Cougar following his mission comes as no big surprise.

It’s been rumored for many months that the former Bingham High star would take his talents to Provo following his return home from his service in Tampa, Florida.

As a young man in high school, Langi had a keen interest in playing for the Cougars. On national letter of intent day in 2011, his mother Kalesita voiced her surprise to several in attendance at a signing event at Rio Tinto Stadium about the fact that her son had decided to sign with the Utes. She told organizers of the event, as well a reporters who were standing nearby, that Harvey had BYU posters and paraphernalia all over his bedroom.

However, a run in with the law during his senior season created some doubt publicly about his ability to fit in and live the strict honor code at BYU.

In the fall of 2010 he was suspended for a Utah state playoff game by Bingham head coach Dave Peck after he was cited by police for trespassing and admitting to officers that he had smoked marijuana. He later recanted that confession and a drug test he took came back negative for any substances, including marijuana.

“I was at the house under construction with some friends,” Harvey said in a written statement released shortly after the incident. “When the police came, I was caught up in the moment and scared and did admit to the officer that I did use marijuana.

“I spoke with coach Peck the next day and told him that I was not smoking marijuana, I was just with my friends. He asked if I would voluntarily take a drug test, which I agreed to do to clear my name. The test proves that I did not smoke marijuana or take any other substances.

“I was scared and just went with the pack. I am ashamed and I am sorry for what I did and what has happened. I am sorry for how my actions have affected Bingham High and the football team.”

Fair or not, some viewed the kid as an honor code violation waiting to happen if he were to attend BYU. In a phone interview with Sikahema for his article, Langi admitted that he was unprepared to live the honor code coming out of high school. Something that is no longer the case.

“Over a period of time, I felt that for me, at this stage of my life, I feel like BYU’s Honor Code is something I can embrace. There are higher expectations there that I wasn’t prepared or willing or able to live before my mission, but now going home, I want to live it. I’m a different person.”

Two years spent in the service of others and helping them to develop faith and testimony tends to create that kind of transformation in a young man’s life. It changes priorities, and in the case of Langi, it has apparently created a desire for a change of scenery as well.

The highly-touted running back turned in an underwhelming freshman season at Utah and saw his time on the field diminish as he struggled to learn how to pass block in the Utes’ offensive scheme and had difficulty securing the football. He carried the ball just 13 times, but still averaged 5.4 yards per attempt.

The rumor is that the staff at Utah planned to switch him to defense upon his return to the Hill. Harvey has reportedly gained some weight during his mission and now tips the scales at around 250 pounds. How much the switch played into his decision to transfer is unknown, although Harvey seemed to indicate in Monday’s article that his decision was driven by things other than football.

After all, it’s entirely possible that he could end up playing defense at BYU–assuming of course that the transfer becomes a reality. However, it’s also a possibility that he ends up playing in the offensive backfield in Provo.

The Cougars lose bruising fullback Paul Lasike after this coming season, so an opportunity could open up for Langi to play a similar kind of role in the future, depending on how he develops. At Bingham he was known as a down-hill runner who amassed nearly 4,300 yards rushing and scored 55 career touchdowns.

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