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January 21, 2013Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei has quietly been one of the most heavily recruited defenders in the West in the class of 2013. The highly touted defensive lineman made his final decision on Sunday, electing to stay close to home and carry on his family legacy playing for the University of Utah.
Lotulelei committed to Utah during his official visit over the weekend, making his decision known in front of a number of recruits and coaches. "It was just a decision between me and my parents. It was mostly me, but it was based on everything that the coaches showed me and told me. They were always helping me out," Lotulelei said.
The visit weekend made Lotulelei's decision easier, especially as he had the chance to get better acquainted with other Utah commits. "It was fun. It was cool to hang out with players from Texas and California. It was cool to hang with them and see what they're like," he said.
According to Lotulelei, the biggest factor behind his decision to commit was his relationship with Ute coaches Jay Hill and Kalani Sitake. "One of the big reasons I really liked Utah was because of Coach Hill. He was always checking in on me and always helping me with understanding the NCAA academic requirements. He was the only coach that would help me, no matter where he thought I was going to go," he explained. "Coach Kalani, I've known him since we were young. He has always helped me and my brother [Star]."
Lotulelei has made a name for himself for his ability to disrupt offensive schemes at the high school level, and thinks he can build upon his success when he joins the Utah defensive line. "I think I'll fit in pretty well [at Utah]. They showed us a couple things on film about how they utilize people's abilities in the defense and I could see myself in the program. It was good. I think one of my strengths is run stopping. That has always been a thing for me that I like doing," he said.
A lot has been made of Lotulelei's older brother Star, who was an All-American at Utah and is expected to be a top 5 pick in this year's NFL draft. For Lowell, there is pressure to follow in his brother's footsteps, but also the opportunity to create his own legacy. "I think there's a little bit of both for me. [Star] has been up there and set a standard, so I think it's good for me to try and be as good as he was. At the same time, it's good to prove myself and make my own name too," he said.
In addition to Utah, Lotulelei had offers from programs such as UCLA, Oregon State, Washington, Cal, Boise State, Utah State and BYU. Although he had a number of options, Lotulelei is confident that he made the right choice. "My commitment is pretty solid. I'm 100 percent committed to Utah," he said.
Lotulelei, who turns 18 in March, will serve a mission for the LDS church prior to enrolling at Utah. "I'm planning on leaving for my mission right after graduation," he said.