Fakailoatonga opening up his options

Cottonwood High School tight end Siale Fakailoatonga may have given a verbal commitment to the University of Utah, but the 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Tongan is now opening up his options after feeling his initial verbal commit was a little pressured.

Recently, Siale Fakailoatonga made an unofficial trip down to Las Angeles to visit UCLA.


"It was fun and I liked the environment," he said. "There were a lot of activities and it was very, like, festive. The campus was nice and it was really active. They were doing salsa dancing out in the main courtyard and there was a band playing and stuff. There was a lot of stuff going on out there."

According to Fakailoatonga, UCLA offered him a scholarship. He now has four offers: Utah, BYU, UCLA and Cal.

However, Fakailoatonga had given the University of Utah an early verbal offer.

"It was soft and it was verbal," he said. "But, I mean, it was like rushed more, so [I was] kind of pressured into it."

Feeling he rushed his commitment, Fakailoatonga wants to explore his options to see if he made the right choice.

"Yeah, I think I need a lot more time to think about it," he said. "I want to look more into the schools. It's more like I want there to not be any doubt about where I'm going, and I have some doubt with Utah. That's why I need to think about it some more."

BYU is one school that Fakailoatonga wants to give more thought to. Recently he attended BYU's Super Elite Day.

"It was really cool and we got to talk to a lot of the players and coaches," he said. "We got to talk to the coaches and eat dinner and it was really fun. We watched a few videos and learned more about the school. I'm still considering BYU and I'm not just going to throw them out. I'm still considering everyone."

Having recently severely torn his meniscus during a seven-on-seven workout, Fakailoatonga will have surgery next Thursday and be out of action for the next three months. Thus, he won't be participating in any summer camps. However, he would still like to visit some schools.

"Oh yeah, yeah, if [the Cougars] have a Junior Day I'll definitely be down there for that," he said. "I don't know if UCLA or Cal are having any, but I'll definitely go, yeah."

One reason BYU is still very much in the picture is because of the school's successful and storied tight end tradition.

"I guess the tight end history they have there at BYU really stands out to me," Fakailoatonga said. "They have a very successful tight end history and that's a big part right there. The tight ends play a big part in their offense and I really like that."

The other reason the Cottonwood High School recruit is taking a closer look at BYU is because of tight end coach Lance Reynolds.

"I've gotten to know him the past few months and he's done a lot of convincing to me to go down there.

"He's just so down to earth and relaxed. He's a really great guy and helped me to see things more about why BYU is a place I should consider. He's the type of guy you become best friends with in, like, 10 minutes of talking to him. He's just so relaxed and such a great guy."

Fakailoatonga has been very impressed by BYU's recruitment of him.

"I feel like BYU is going to be successful down the road and the coaches, I feel, work their butts off," he said. "I think they'll be good because they work so hard."

A member of the LDS faith, Fakailoatonga is still considering whether or not he'll serve a mission.

"I feel like there are some people that go to BYU and didn't serve a mission and played on the football team, but I feel like that wouldn't be too big of a deal if I didn't go," he said. "At the same time I know my mom really, really, really wants me to go on a mission. I know it's getting closer, so I have to start thinking about it more, but, yeah, I'm not sure what I'm going to do right now."

Either way, Fakailoatonga likes BYU's environment.

"Yeah, that is an attractive thing about BYU to have the religious side of things around you," he said. "I feel like having all the partying stuff that goes on at colleges gets in the way of studying and staying on the right track. I feel like at BYU there is more calm and an environment that helps you to stay more focused. With the honor code, there's no drinking or smoking on campus, so that's a good thing."


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