A commitment to Coach Gene Chizik's program, Latu is a physical 6-5, 320 offensive tackle who has two years left to play two seasons on the Plains. Expected to arrive next summer with the goal of playing right away, Latu talks about his visit and gives his thoughts on Auburn in this one-on-one interview:
How was your visit?
"It was just a great experience. Knowing the rivalry and hearing a lot of good things about it from the players and the coaches and the fans, I was still going in there without really knowing how serious the situation is. I didn't know that people are really willing to break up their marriages for the rivalry. I loved the atmosphere and the competition. I can't wait to play in it next year."
What was it like being inside Jordan-Hare Stadium and seeing Tiger Walk?
"That was crazy. Just knowing that I'm going to be on the field and in the Tiger Walk next year is just amazing. Standing there and seeing all them walk through and then playing on the field, it's all becoming a reality to me slowly."
Talk about preparing to play in front of 87,000+ fans when you get to Auburn.
"Coming from a junior college where we only have 30 fans in the stadium to seeing a packed stadium, it made me feel like I'm in the NFL already."
What did the coaches tell you about playing chances for next year?
"Me and Coach (Jeff) Grimes talk a lot and he relates to me as ‘his guy.' Whatever happens will happen, but I know nothing is going to be given to me. I have to work for everything. The main thing we're looking at is the tackle spot."
"That's amazing. That's why I committed so early. It's one of the reasons why I love the university and I haven't even strapped on the pads yet. Just knowing that I can come in and compete for a starting job, it's just amazing."
How have things changed for you since you committed to Auburn? What have you realized about Auburn?
"It's just the whole atmosphere of the fans. They are really into their players and recruiting and all that. It's the perfect time for me to come in and make a difference. They need help on the offensive line. That's why everybody is so happy and pleased that Auburn found me and I found Auburn. Everything is working out perfect. I can't wait to come out and see the crowd with number 77 on my jersey."
How did your season go?
"We had an unexpected season. Nobody likes losing. We finished the year 4-5. Other than that everybody knew who I was. Every Saturday night the people knew I was a commit to Auburn so I guess everybody was gunning for me. I had to keep my head on a swivel all year. For 60 minutes it was playing hardball on the gridiron."
Where do you feel like you made the most improvement?
"I made my most improvement on my run blocking. I kept my hands inside and jabbing the guys. It could be because I was skinnier last year and the beginning of the season. I have gained more weight and put on more muscle. I'm up to 320 right now and by the time I get to Auburn I'll be 305. I'm going to work on my speed and tone up. I'm strong where I want to be right now. I'm going to tone it up a little bit."