In June 2016, Wayne left his beloved Hawaii and traveled to Nicaragua to begin a journey that would change his life. Wayne Taulapapa had signed a football letter of intent with the University of Virginia about four months prior, but he chose to postpone his studies at the university.
Taulapapa’s UVA position coach Mark Atuaia is aware of his struggles after taking a two-year hiatus from football. After her freshman year, Atuaia left BYU to serve an LDS mission in Tucson, Arizona, not far from the Mexican border. In 1994 he returned to BYU.
He has improved remarkably on the football field since joining UVA last summer. Taulapapa was a proper freshman last year and saw action only on special teams, making eight appearances for the Cavaliers. Yet this spring he solidified himself as a candidate to start racing.
Also, he did his best to watch Central American UVA football. The Wahoos were 2-10 in Mendenhall’s first season with them in 2016. In 2017, they improved to 6-7 and made their first bowl appearance in six years.