Olympus High School (UT) defensive line prospect Cameron Latu is being highly sought after by UCLA, Utah, and Utah State, in addition to BYU, where he has been verbally committed for some time now. With a year to go in high school more college programs will likely toss their hats into the ring in an effort to lure Latu away from BYU. Although Latu is still committed to be a Cougar, he is open to seeing if his initial commitment to the BYU Cougars was the right one.
“That’s exactly what I’m thinking,” said Latu. “I’m still open as a football player and I’ll be visiting a lot of schools this summer to see if other schools fit me as well. BYU was my first offer and committing to them was like, ‘Oh of course!’ because I was excited about it. I hadn’t visited any other colleges at that moment. BYU is the best-fitting program for me right now, but I want to make sure that is the case.”
Latu explained further why BYU is the best fit for him at this point in time.
“BYU is the best for me right now and it just feels like family to me right now,” said Latu. “They’ve just made the surroundings like family to me over there. I don’t know, I don’t really know how to explain it, but everyone there just makes you feel like you a part of their family both on and off the field.”
The unique environment that BYU fosters makes those attending school or on staff feel more like family.
“They’re not afraid to open up,” Cameron Latu said. “Having a lot of Poly’s there makes a big difference, and the values of the coaching staff makes a big difference. Most of the players that I’ve talked to have the same background I have. It’s crazy.
“I also feel like BYU is great with academics and that a head coach like Kalani (Sitake) would prefer you to get an education than just play football,” Latu continued. “I feel like he would be the type of coach that if you get into trouble he’ll be there to help you grow and learn from it.”
Other aspects that are important to Latu include the level of education and the opportunity to play at the college level. He doesn’t want to be some coach’s recruiting trophy sitting on a shelf.
“One thing is education and the other thing is staying close to my mom,” Cameron Latu said. “For football-wise it’s about the depth chart and where I am on the depth chart. If I’m just another recruit to be a part of a program like an add-on just because everybody else is offering me then I’m not really interested in them.”
But what was it that made Cameron Latu pull the trigger on BYU in the first place? At the time of the offer he was a high school sophomore with two years of high school football to play so there was plenty of time to wait in case other offers came rolling in. So why commit then?
“When I first got my first offer I was actually pretty shocked and surprised,” recalled Latu. “I didn’t think I was walking into that BYU camp expecting to get an offer. Then Coach Tuiaki pulled us aside and offered us. He was like, ‘I really love you guys.’ BYU felt like home to me. I don’t think any other place can compare to it. I then told him, ‘I think I want to spend my four years here.’ Then I committed.”
There was something else Cameron Latu saw in those that attend BYU that is tough to put a finger on.
"I also just feel like every player that comes out of BYU is happy," Cameron Latu said. "It's such a positive place and there is no negativity there. None! It's just all positive. I think maybe because it's a religious school.
"I was talking to Tuni Kanuch, the right guard, and he was saying that when Bronco was the head coach everyone was walking on eggshells. Now that Kalani is there it's not like that anymore, which is important to me because I want to feel comfortable. BYU does set the bar high."
When Latu attends other universities for official or unofficial visits, he’ll have to decide what attributes found within the halls of those campuses have to offer that will benefit him in all aspects of his life along with football.
“I think I’m going to be going to California for the Under Armour All-American Camp that I got invited to,” Cameron Latu said. “I want to go out there and compare what [UCLA] has to offer in comparison to what BYU and Kalani Sitake has to offer. It’s a lot to think about.”
Latu is going to be heading out to visit various campuses in addition to UCLA but he has some ideas of what the other schools will need to do to or have to be on par with BYU in his mind.
"When I go on my officials or unofficials I'm going to compare how I felt at BYU to those other schools," said Cameron Latu. "How I felt at BYU was at home, comfortable. I couldn't have felt any more comfortable, so when I go to other schools I'm going to see how I feel around the coaches and see if they compare to the coaches at BYU. BYU has set the bar and now I just want to make sure that BYU is the right place by comparing to see if other schools compare."
To do so will only strengthen Latu's resolve as to why he should stay committed to Coach Sitake and BYU, or why he should move on. Either way Cameron Latu will be able to move forward with greater conviction
"That's kind of what I'm thinking," he said.