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December 31, 2008
Su'a Filo looking for an overall fit
Xavier Su'a Filo finds himself a wanted man. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound four-star prospect is one of the top remaining uncommitted players in the nation at his position.Pleasant Grove (Utah) Timpview offensive tackle
While he is taking time off to participate in this week's Under Armour All-American Game, Su'a Filo has recently been busy with official visits. So far, he has made trips to three campuses and has two more to go.
"I've already officially visited LSU, USC and the University of Utah," he said. "I've got my final two scheduled for UCLA on January 16th and BYU on the 9th."
The big lineman says there are positives with each of the five schools on his list.
"My first visit was to LSU," he said. "Some of the pros there are that I get along real well with the some of the guys on the team. They've been good to me. I've talked to the left tackle, Ciron Black, about him leaving and me possibly coming in. He's been really friendly.
"At USC, I have a really good relationship with the offensive line coach. He's a really nice guy and he's been very open and honest with me. You know, every coach will sort of tell you what you want to hear, but I don't get that feeling with him. We have a very good relationship. That's the same thing with UCLA. I'm visiting there in January, but I get along with their line coach too. With BYU and Utah, they're sort of the home school. I feel comfortable there and everything since I've lived in Utah my whole life."
An aspect of his life that is very important to Su'a Filo is his Mormon faith. A common practice in the church is for males to be sent on a two year mission at the age of 19. He says he is unsure if he will be going on a mission but is very open to the possibility. It is something that could play heavily in his recruitment.
"I haven't ultimately made that decision yet, but I think it's something that would be good for me," Su'a Filo said of that possibility. "I'd like to do one. I've been good about talking to the coaches at each school about it - explaining to them what it was and that it was something that was very possible that I would do. They've all said they supported me if I decided to do it.
"I actually turn 18 [on Thursday], so I turn 19 a year from now. That would leave me with one year of being able to play before I went on my mission. That makes the possibility of immediate playing time a pretty big deal to me. I'd already be sitting out for two years while on my mission, so three would just be a long time. I don't want anyone to promise me that I will definitely play right away, but I want to go somewhere where there is a chance to earn it."
In addition to his faith, Su'a Filo also takes great pride in his Polynesian heritage. He says it is a major positive for a school to have a strong community that would support him in both aspects because it would help ease the transition to college.
"Yes sir, I've looked into that," he said. "I wouldn't necessarily say I feel more comfortable or anything around other Polynesians, but we just have a lot of things in common. It's a sense of familiarity. It reminds me a lot of home. As far as the (Mormon) kids, we all share the same values and everything, so that's nice to have that around."
With the five schools that he is currently considering, some of them have very large communities of both Polynesians and Mormons.
"Obviously at Utah and BYU, there is a large community of Polynesians and LDS members," he said. "At the California schools, there are quite a few. When I visited LSU, not so many. I think they had one Polynesian kid on the team."
Unlike many highly ranked players, Su'a Filo has no plans for a lavish announcement ceremony. He says he plans to commit as soon as he knows his destination.
"I don't have a timeline to commit or anything," he said. "I'm just planning to do it when it feels right. Hopefully something starts to feel right soon after my last visit, because I'd like to get a decision out of the way. The thing is, I'm really not leaning towards any school right now. Every trip I go on, it makes my decision ever harder and ever more confusing."