No. 13 ranked BYU football is hot on the recruiting trail right now, with targets Cody Hagen and Aisea Moa getting a lot of attention. What Cougar fans might not know is that top WR recruit Pokaiaua Haunga (who had five receptions for 277 yards and four touchdowns last Friday) has already given a verbal commitment to join the Cougars in 2023.
Haunga quietly commit to the BYU football program following his sophomore season last January.
Haunga is a 5-foot-11 200 pound wide receiver, who has also lined up as running back, middle linebacker, free safety, punt returner, and kick returner. He preps at Timpview High School (Provo, Utah). Through the first seven games as his junior campaign he currently ranks no. 3 in receiving yards for the state of Utah with 899—just seven yards behind BYU target Cody Hagen and well ahead of recent high profile Virginia commit Dominique Mckenzie. He is the top 2023 wide receiver in the state by a large margin.
In 2021 Haunga has 45 receptions for 899 (20.0 ypr) and 11 touchdowns, while also rushing 14 times for another 144 yards.
Last season (as a sophomore) he had over 500 receiving yards but also played on the defensive side of the ball. Prior to that, Haunga was raised and played his freshman season in Hawaii at Kamehameha high school. He ran the 100m for the track team (athletic.net).
Haunga is rated 3-stars by 247Sports (87) who rate him the no. 6 prospect from Utah for the class of 2023 and the no. 33 athlete nationally.
I caught up with Haunga to ask him about his recruiting.
BYU Insider: Why did you choose BYU?
Haunga: BYU was my first offer. I took advice from my uncle them with his son being a top recruit with many offers and verbally committed. BYU is a great fit for me because of me being apart of the Church and just starting to fall in love with Cougar Nation.
BYU Insider: What other schools were showing you love in the recruiting process?
Haunga: Schools are reaching out to me now that I’m a junior, but BYU was the first school to reach out.
BYU Insider: What are some of your favorites?
Haunga: I love to watch musicals, especially when they are from Disney because I watch and sing with my family. My current favorite song to listen to right now is ‘Good 4 U’ by Olivia Rodrigo. I eat mostly spam, eggs, and rice every day… and cup-o-noodles. I also love to go swimming at the Provo Rec, because who doesn’t love the water?
BYU Insider: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Haunga: My mother says “play like it’s your last game.” She has really pushed me to be the best I can be.
BYU Insider: Who is a current player that you seek to emulate on the field?
Haunga: Right now I am definitely trying to be like the Nacua brothers and BYU’s running backs. I picked up a couple things by watching their highlights and just try to imitate them on the field. Professionally I love Tyreek Hill (5-foot-10 WR for Kansas City Chiefs) because sometimes I feel short, but speed kills.
BYU Insider: Is there anything else you’d like Cougarfans to know about you?
Haunga: I can’t wait to play for a crowd like BYU’s.
If you have any additional information or insight about this recruit, please include it in the comment section below.