Note: This is the first article in a new series where we track down former BYU football greats to find out what they are doing now. If you know of any players to add to the list, have any additional information regarding the player currently listed, or if you have recommendations for which player to spotlight next, please make these suggestions in the comment section below.
Earlier this week Fahu Tahi ruffled a few feathers by tweeting out the following:
Don't mind my new profile pic.. #BYU👎
— naufahu tahi (@tahi38) February 23, 2015
Apparently he is upset with BYU because they never granted him a degree which is putting his current coaching career in jeopardy. Whether or not this is his own fault or the fault of BYU, his asking people to pay attention to him in such a public way invites gossip and speculation AND also provides me a great introduction for my new “Where are they now” series. I figure that if a former player is so anxious to throw their alma mater under the bus, then those same people are probably more than happy to be spotlighted on where they are at in their current professions, right? So Tahi, Stevenson, and Buck seem like great early candidates for the series.
In this series I will take a former BYU great and review what they accomplished in their athletic careers at BYU, what professional experience they have had since their college days, and what we know about what they are doing now. These spotlights will use information that already exist on the web but organize all the relevant information and links in one place. There are a lot of “greats” so I will start slowly and add to the database when I can. Once some consistency in the articles are attained I’ll reach out to guest contributors to further fill the database and/or to provide updates to existing articles. But without further ado, here is Fahu Tahi…
Fahu Tahi’s BYU Legacy
Fahu was a prized recruit (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska) as a Prep Star All-American and USA player of the Year for Utah at Granger High School. His senior season he set the state rushing touchdowns record and was selected as the Granger HS MVP and all-state first team. He played his freshman season for the Cougs in 1999 where he led the team in rushing yards (445). After a two year LDS mission in Jacksonville, Florida he competed his BYU career finishing with 45 games played, 1358 total rushing yards, 730 total receiving yards, and 19 total touchdowns. He only started 12 total games but was a consistent producer in the Cougar offense.
|Year||GP||Rush Att.||Rush YDS||Rush TD||Receptions||Rec. YDS||Rec TD|
Tahi did not produce eye-popping statistics at BYU but he was a good blocker and worked hard in the weight room. Unfortunately, much of what he achieved on the field was diminished by what he did off of it. He had two brush-ups with the law while enrolled at BYU. On February 12, 2003 he allegedly punched Michael Riffle—“an obnoxious movie-goer”—outside a Provo movie theater. He pled not guilty to class A misdemeanor assault charges and was suspended by coach Crowton for one game. He was arrested two months later (and two days prior to his wedding) for suspicion of driving under the influence after his car jumped the curb at a convenience store and hit two parked cars. It was later determined that he had taken prescribed pain medication which had affected his driving. While these brushes with the law were both minor infractions they did still diminish what he accomplished at BYU. In other off-the-field matters, it appears that Tahi never actually graduated from BYU but jumped to the NFL without a diploma in hand (more about that later).
Professional Playing Career
Tahi went undrafted in the 2006 draft, but after appearing at the NFL scouting combine and with a productive Pro day at BYU he was able to secure a free agent rookie deal with the Cincinnati Bengals and was placed on their practice squad. That relationship was short lived and he was released from the Bengals later in the season. The Minnesota Vikings wasted no time after his release and picked him up in 2006 and placed him on their active roster for an undisclosed amount. He played sporadically as full back and on special teams but became increasingly valued by the Vikings. In March 2009, at the completion of his first Vikings contract Cincinnati (seeing the error of their ways) tried to sign Tahi to a $1.4 million offer sheet. They were unsuccessful however as Minnesota matched and retained his services for another season. He signed a one-year $1.176 million contract in 2011 and played his fifth season for the Vikings. In May 2012 he was signed by Jacksonville as an unrestricted free agent but left the team for personal reasons and was cut two months later (July 27, 2012).
During Tahi’s six year NFL career he played in a total of 56 games with 14 starts. He had 10 total rushing attempts for 21 yards (2.1 average). He also had 33 total receptions for 150 yards (4.5 average) and two TDs, with a career long reception of 32 yards. On special teams he had six solo tackles and one assisted tackle and also returned three kicks for 31 yards (10.3 average). He made at least $2.5 million playing football professionally in the NFL during that six year span.
Off-the-field activities. Tahi has made a good living playing professional football but he has also remained busy in Utah in the off-season with a number of business opportunities and charities, which include the G.I.F.T.ED football camps, APX Rugby tournaments, writing opinion pieces for local papers, and involvement in CoachedByPros.com. He lives in American Fork and trains at ASAP Training in Orem. Here are some of the highlights of his extra-curricular work:
- G.I.F.T.ED. Tahi has also been involved (with several other pro athletes) in the free youth football camp G.I.F.T.ED., which originally started as a camp for Polynesian kids who couldn’t afford to attend other football camps. In 2010 it was opened up to anyone age 8-18. During its second year it featured seven current and former NFL athletes and extended instruction to a classroom where the players discussed the value of education (a “plan B”).
- Coached By Pros. Tahi has been somewhat involved in “CoachedByPros.com” a website that allowed high school athletes to send in their playing videos and get feedback from former professional athletes. It appears this service was short lived as the website is no longer online.
- Writing. Tahi wrote a weekly column for the Daily Herald during the 2009-10 football season chronicling his NFL experiences and has submitted other opinion pieces to various newspapers and blogs.
- APX Rugby Tournament. In August 2010 Tahi organized and sponsored the 1st annual APX Rugby tournament in Provo, Utah. In 2011 the tournament was moved to Alpine and the current status of the tournament is not listed anywhere online.
Like his BYU legacy, his professional legacy has also been tainted by a few legal infractions. According to www.mugshots.com Tahi was arrested in Salt Lake County on November 19, 2011 for a DUI and was released the same day for a $1500 bond. He was arrested two years later in Cache Valley, Utah for failure to appear in court. So he has now been booked a total of four times, all for minor legal infractions (assault, DUI, DUI, failure to appear).
As Tahi concluded his playing career in 2011 he immediately transitioned into coaching, spending the 2012 football season as the running backs coach at his alma mater—Granger High School (SLC, Utah).
In 2013 he was hired by Utah State University in Logan, Utah to serve as an “offensive administrative assistant” for the Aggies football team. According to his bio he assists the offensive coaches with daily football operations, working with the USU offensive coordinator and working specifically with the running backs. He is now in his second year in that position. Apparently, his coaching career is in jeopardy due to failure to obtain a bachelor’s degree at BYU. He recently tweeted the following:
@kimdaddy35 @Y4LYFE nope.. It's about me not given my degree n allowed 2 continue on coaching bcuz they wanna hold on 2 it..
— naufahu tahi (@tahi38) February 24, 2015
It not known as to why BYU is “withholding” his degree, but presumably he never completed what was required to obtain a bachelor’s degree from the Y. Hopefully he will be able to complete his coursework at either BYU or USU and get a degree in the near future.
Note: I’ve tried to write this “Where are they now” profile as objectively as possible and only included documented sources found online. If there are any additions or corrections that need to be made please notify me via the comment section below.
- Utah State football bio – USU Aggies
- NFL player statistics – ESPN
- Twitter handle: @tahi38
- Tahi puts on camp as lockout continues – Doug Robinson, Deseret News, June 21, 2011
Other BYU football “Where Are They Now?” player profiles – BYU Insider