Corbin Kaufusi was on a hiking trip in the Rocky Mountains with his family a few days ago when all of a sudden he ventured away from the group.

Michelle Kaufusi wasn't quite sure where her son had gone. 

But she knew that was just Corbin being Corbin. 

Then all of a sudden, she heard a loud yell.

"Cannon baaaaaaaaallllllllllll"

"I turned around and looked down, and Corbin had jumped into a glacier pool," Michelle Kaufusi said. "I'm telling you, he just loves life."

Now Kaufausi is hoping to make a another splash, this time in New Orleans.

Chances are, he'll likely turn some heads before he ever participates in a single drill at the Saints rookie camp that runs Friday through Sunday.

Kaufusi's first impression — the one he'll make as soon as he steps foot in the Saints practice facility — will be physical: the undrafted free agent already might seem like a man amongst boys.

And in a way, he is.

He just turned 26.

And he stands 6-foot-9 (taller than most of the players on the roster of the New Orleans Pelicans in the building next door) and weighs 278 pounds.

But Kaufasi, a defensive end out of BYU, knows his measurables aren't what's going to land him a spot on the Saints roster. It'll take much more than that, especially for a player who didn't hear his name called during the NFL draft in April.

"You always hope to get drafted," Kaufusi said. "But I'm just grateful that I'll have the opportunity to play, be able to show my talents and compete."

Competing is in his blood. His father Steve, a 12th-round draft pick in 1988, played three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. His brother Bronson was drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens in 2016 and currently plays with the New York Jets. And his mom knows how to compete as well. She ran for mayor of Provo, Utah, in 2017 and won, becoming the first female to hold that office in their hometown.

Now it's Corbin's turn. He calls the Saints "the perfect fit" because of the 4-3 defense and the team's depth chart at defensive end. The Saints have four defensive ends (Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Trey Hendrickson and free agent signee Mario Edwards) on the roster.

"Being able to learn from Cam Jordan and some of the things he does will be something that will help me," Kaufusi said.

His journey to this point has been a long one.

"I was a late bloomer for sure," he said.

He grew five inches between his junior and senior year of high school and was about 6-5 by the time he stepped foot on the BYU campus. He was grayshirted that fall and began his career the following spring as an offensive tackle. Then he went on a 2-year Mormon mission in Korea and grew another 3 1/2 inches. By the time he returned to BYU, he faced a dilemma. Now that he had sprouted to 6-foot-9, the basketball coaches wanted him. The football coaches, meanwhile, wanted him to redshirt and bulk up another 50 or 60 pounds.

"So I decided to just play basketball and played it for two years," Kaufausi said.

The following year, the football coach wanted him to return to football. But they wanted him to play defensive end, the position he played in high school. He obliged, playing both basketball and football that year. He gave up basketball that following year and concentrated on football his final two seasons for the Cougars. He recorded 56 tackles and 9 1/2 for loss, including 8 1/2 sacks this past season

Since the season ended, he has had three minor surgeries (ankle, triceps and finger). He postponed the ankle surgery until after the season because he refused to miss the regular-season finale against rival Utah.

Kaufusi says he's "completely healed" now, though the setbacks caused him to not participate in BYU's pro day.

He has leaned heavily throughout the process on the advice of the two people in his household who have played in the NFL.

"I tell him that all you look for is an opportunity to get your foot in the door," said his father Steve, who played three seasons in Philadelphia as a backup to Hall of Famer Reggie White. "You have to go out there and show the coaches what you bring to the table and earn their respect. You earn their respect by how you work. It's not about how tall you are or how strong you are but it's about just getting the job done and being a great teammate."

An NFL.com scouting report on Kaufusi echoes one of the same words that Steve uses when describing his son.

"He definitely has a motor and is very competitive and just takes pride in what he's doing," the elder Kaufusi said.

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Kaufusi, who says improving his strength and his get-off are the areas he needs to work on most, plans to bring that motor to New Orleans. It's a city he last visited in 2017 when BYU played LSU in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Kaufusi recorded eight tackles in that 27-0 loss.

He didn't get a chance to explore New Orleans much on that trip, but he's been doing his homework.

"All he does is keeps sending me pictures of food in New Orleans that he can't wait to eat when he gets there," said his mom.

Saints quarterback Taysom Hill, a fellow BYU alumnus who was in the same recruiting class as Corbin's brother Bronson, was one of the first to reach out to Corbin when he signed. Corbin is hoping to follow the same path to the NFL as Hill, who started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Green Bay Packers.

Kaufusi's mom already has bought a ticket for the Saints' Aug. 24 preseason game against the Jets so she and her husband can watch two of their sons. Another son, Devin, plays at BYU.

Corbin is looking to make the most of his opportunity that he never really envisioned as a kid.

"Back then, I was thinking I'm not quite as talented as Bronson and I was just trying to get as far as I could with football and get a free education," Kaufusi said. "As I got better, I thought about playing in the NFL because it was a dream I had. But I just didn't know I would be able to realize it."

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Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.