'This will be my first time in the South!'

There will be a strong California presence at Bryant-Denney Stadium on Saturday when Alabama hosts LSU as many Golden Staters will be taking their official visits to see the champs. Four-star commitment Viane Talamaivao leads the charge, though he's seeing Tuscaloosa for the first time.

Several prospects wait out the recruiting process before making a commitment for various reasons, and familiarity with a school's campus is often one of them if proximity isn't easy to combat.

The scenario clearly wasn't an issue for four-star offensive lineman Viane Talamaivao, who committed to Alabama in late May without having been to Tuscaloosa. Despite that fact, he remained solid in his commitment and even told Scout that he wouldn't be visiting any other school.

In the meantime, he still hasn't been to Alabama. Not for camp, not for the spring, not for anything. He hasn't even been in the region of the country before.

That changes this weekend as Talamaivao and his family, along with several other elite prospects from California, take their official visit to the Capstone.

"We'll be up there this weekend. I can't wait!," he said. "It's me, my parents, and Juju (Smith), Damien (Mama) and Tyler (Luatua) with their families."

Each prospect headed east is an undeclared elite, save for Talamaivao. Juju Smith is America's No. 1 safety prospect, Damien Mama is the top guard in the country and Tyler Luatua is the No. 2 right end commodity in the class of 2014. Each holds a scholarship offer from Alabama, as does fellow California elite and five-star cornerback/wide receiver Michiah Quick, who is also scheduled to take his official to Alabama this weekend. Most of the group is close as friends, and the sole committed prospect of the group is trying to change that fact.


Talamaivao and Mama training together over the summer.

"I've been in their ear a little bit, telling them to roll with Alabama," Talamaivao said laughing. "I don't know if it works, I guess we'll find out this weekend."

Aside from the entire group, the No. 8 guard prospect on Scout.com will be looking for his own memories of the campus he hadn't yet seen but heard so much about.

"I'm excited for everything," he said. "The school, the city, the atmosphere and the facilities. And getting to know the coaching staff.

"This will be my first time in the South!"

Again, the 6-foot-3, 285-pound Talamaivao bucked the trend of today's recruiting process.

"I guess it's just a little weird," he said. "But I feel pretty solid with 'Bama already."

He added that not much can sway him despite his unfamiliarity with Tuscaloosa.

One of America's top programs not in the SEC, Oregon, has had a big influence on the four-star's high school career. Corona (Calif.) Centennial High School is 7-2 this fall thanks to an offense that ha cracked the 50-point mark six times already, often making 500 yards of offense look routine.

"It's out offensive scheme, we run the spread like Oregon," he said.

In the scheme, Talamaivao plays right guard, and often gets to the second level with his elite punch and better-than-advertised quickness. But with experience at the center position as well, his versatility could come into play at the next level.

"I'm not sure what they (Alabama) want me to pay yet, but I'm anticipating guard or center," he said. "But I can't wait for this weekend."

Talamaivao and Centennial play 1-9 Corona (Calif.) High on Thursday night.


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