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Press ReleasePROVO -- BYU defensive lineman Russell Tialavea said Thursday he plans to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I've made a decision to serve a mission, and I'm really excited about it," Tialavea said. "I'm working on putting in my papers and at this point expect to go before the upcoming season. I hope to have two years to play after returning from my mission, with the medical hardships I have had."
The 6-foot-3, 286-pound nose tackle from Oceanside, Calif., was redshirted due to injury in 2005 and then made seven starts as a redshirt freshman in 2006.
He had to sit out again in 2007 after suffering an injury during fall camp.
Last year, Tialavea totaled 17 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and two pass breakups while starting in 12 games. He also blocked a field goal in BYU's 59-0 victory over UCLA.
"I'm thrilled for Russell and fully support him in his decision," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "This is a celebration of what the BYU football program represents. The real intent of our program is to help young men increase their faith and serve others with character developed through football."
(Courtesy BYU Athletic Department)