June 18, 2010

West Coast DT talks Tide

Alabama surprised some around the country when they pulled in a rare commitment from Southern California recently with La Mirada (CA) center Isaac Luatua. Now the Tide is pursuing yet another big man from Southern California, this time on the defensive side of the ball. Rivals100 defensive tackle Viliami Moala stands at an impressive 6-foot-3, 333 pounds and the elite lineman holds offers from the entire Pac-10. Would he ever consider playing as far away as the SEC?

"Right now I'm trying to figure out what is going to work best for me," Moala said. "A big part of that involves my family. I want them to be able to see me play and I would like to be able to come home for holidays. With plane tickets being so expensive these days, that's not going to be easy to do if I go to school far from home. I definitely wouldn't rule out going somewhere out East but it's going to take a lot to convince me."

Moala, rated the nation's No. 6 defensive tackle prospect, has been hearing a lot from the Crimson Tide this year since their recent triumphant trip to Pasadena and despite Moala's hesitation about playing far from home, the possibility of playing for the Tide is something Moala is considering.

"I have talked to Coach Saban and the rest of the coaches at Alabama a good bit. They talk to me a lot about how Alabama is a very family oriented place and how they have a lot of guys there from around the country who kind of become like family to you since everyone is far from home. They also told me that 13 of their 14 games were on TV last year, which means my family would definitely get to see me play almost every game, and that's really important to me."

"I've learned a lot about Alabama in the last few weeks even though I haven't been there. I know the academics there are really strong and the campus looks really great. I also hear the food down there is really good too."

The Sacramento star has earned praises and offers from coaches around the country because of his playing style and athleticism but it's his size that makes him uniquely suited for the role of nose guard in a 3-4 defense.

"Most schools like me because I'm kind of the perfect size to play that nose guard position in the 3-4. They like that I can clog up gaps on both sides of the center and my upper body strength and my quickness are both pretty good, although I'm working on making both better. I try to model my game after Haloti Ngata with the Baltimore Ravens. He's kind of my football hero and I love the way he can really change everything for the defense."

Competing with other players on the depth chart aren't a concern according to Moala, who plans on redshirting his freshman season if possible wherever he goes.

"I'm willing to work for the top spot wherever I go. I'm not the kind of guy who needs to come in and play right away, especially if I'm not ready. I want to go somewhere that I can learn to become the best player I can be and hopefully get me ready to play at the pro level by the time I leave. That's kind of the way I'm approaching this process."

Don't expect the recruiting process to last too long past the end of the 2010 football season, as Moala is keen on wrapping up his final decision as quickly as possible.

"I'm going to Cal tomorrow for a camp but other than that I don't really have much planned for this summer. Hopefully I will have a decision before the end of the football season. I plan on taking my official visits during the season if I can and I have a feeling that when I step on the right campus, I will know pretty quickly."

Moala is rated by Rivals.com as the No. 8 overall prospect in the state of California and the No. 78 overall prospect in the nation.

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