Utah linebacker receiving recruiting interest

East High School has a middle linebacker in the class of 2015 that is receiving heavy interest from Stanford. A Cardinal coach has been out quite a few times since January to evaluate him. BYU, Utah, Utah State and UCLA have also shown interest in this LDS Tongan prospect.

Christian Folau will be a junior next season and is already receiving interest from colleges in and out of Utah. He already has good measurables at an early age.

"I'm 6'1", 245 pounds and I only play middle linebacker, but our coach is thinking of putting me at tight end next season," said Folau. "At middle linebacker, I'm really good at run defense. I think that's why our coach put me there. I mostly play defense."

Folau is a humble young man who understands what his strengths and weaknesses are as a defensive player, but he's also a confident young man as well.

"Well, I need to work on my hip flexibility but I have really good speed and can move well side to side," Folau said. "I also love to hit and be physical on the field. I move well side to side and love to hit in the run game."

Of Tongan heritage, Folau is LDS and has plans to serve a mission following high school, so any college that does offer him a scholarship will understand he won't be showing up on campus until after he's served two years.

"Right now I'm kind of a Stanford guy and they've been looking over me since spring," said Folau. "I have been getting some looks from BYU, Utah, Utah State and UCLA."

Folau is a "Stanford guy" in large part because of his desire to pursue academic excellence.

"I always put school first and try to be a good student. I currently have a 3.9 GPA, so I just want to continue my education at the next level."

As far as in-state colleges go, Folau holds more interest in BYU than any other.

"I'm more of a BYU fan than a Utah fan, and when Coach DuPaix was at BYU I spoke with him, and I've spoken to Coach Mendenhall as well," said Folau. "Ever since Joe DuPaix lost his job I haven't heard from BYU lately. I haven't heard from them since he's been gone."

When Coach DuPaix was at BYU, he extended Folau a verbal offer according to East High School head coach Brandon Matich. However, since Coach DuPaix has moved on, the status of that verbal offer is in question.

"I haven't talked to them in a long time, but I really liked the environment when I went down there to visit the campus a while back," said Folau. "I used to be a really big BYU fan growing up. I always cheered for BYU during the BYU vs. Utah rivalry. When I got older I just really focused and got serious with my academics and that's when I started looking more into Stanford. I'm still sort of a BYU fan, but during rivalry week I really am."

"I'll be honest, when Coach Doman and Coach DuPaix were at BYU, those guys were visiting our program all the time," said Coach Matich. "It was like they had tents in the backyard, but ever since those guys were let go we haven't seen or heard much from BYU. I know that when Coach DuPaix was at BYU he did verbally offer Folau, but ever since he's been gone I don't know what the status of that is. I don't want to say he does or doesn't [still have an offer] because I just don't know."

Coach Matich did mention that Coach Atuaia left him a message on Thursday, so maybe that level of interest from BYU will now begin to ramp up.

"Christian is a no-brainer and by the time he's a senior he's going to be one of the best players I've ever coached," Coach Matich said. "He's only a sophomore and he already has the size and talent to be outstanding. UCLA is making a push and they've called and are probably really close to making an offer. They just want to see more of him before they do so."

Meanwhile, Folau has a strong desire to serve a mission.

"Yes, I'm LDS and I do plan on serving a mission, so I do hope that BYU does offer me maybe down the road," said Folau. "BYU has a good environment from the church standpoint. My family is really religious and we put that first in our lives."

"He is topnotch and he tutors our older kids, he holds our kids accountable, he stays after school and doesn't let our kids lift until they've gotten their schoolwork responsibilities taken care of," said Coach Matich. "He's just a great, great kid to have on our team because he holds our kids accountable. He is LDS and wants to serve a mission and is just a great young man."

At this point in time, Stanford has shown the most love for Folau and, naturally, holds the lead for his services. However, Folau is practical and understands that he can't put his eggs all in one basket.

"I am going to keep my options open though, but seeing how much Stanford has come down from January to now, I just have a good feeling," said Folau. "I've been praying about things and do feel that Stanford is right, but of course I am going to keep my options open for colleges like BYU and UCLA.

"In following my LDS standards. I might not know a school completely but when I go down there and see a campus I'll probably have a better idea about my decisions. I've already been down to BYU, and I really love the environment, but that's what I want to feel when I go down to Stanford. If I don't feel that way then of course I'm going to see my other options."

Folau hasn't quite figured out his summer camp schedule, but he has a few ideas in mind.

"I plan on going to the All-Poly Camp, the Stanford camp and UCLA, but we haven't planned everything out yet," Folau said. "I just need to figure out everything. I also plan on maybe heading out to BYU, but I'm going to Stanford's Junior Day on June 18th."

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