Thor Pili Likely Not BYU Bound at Family's Urging

The word is that <b>Thor Pili</b>, one of Utah's top defensive end/tight end prospects this year, will likely not sign with BYU at the suggestion of immediate family members – despite the fact his uncle, <b>Ifo Pili</b>, is currently a Cougar starter at defensive tackle. His father, <b>Junior Pili</b>, also played for BYU.

Thor Pili recently told, an independent sports wesbite covering Nebraska football, "I talked it over with my family and I probably won't be going there," Pili said of eventually going to BYU. OK, so that means out of state? "Yeah, more than likely," he said.

Other colleges contending for his services include Stanford, Utah, Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona State and Colorado.

Pili already has official recruiting trips scheduled for Utah, Nebraska and Stanford. He plans to add two more, but BYU will not be one of them, according to his mother, Lani Pili.

"Yeah, Junior (Pili) played, Ifo (Pili) plays and he's been to BYU's camp every summer, so we know BYU's system," she said. "He's grown up around BYU, so we'll wait and see."

Utah, Nebraska, ASU and Stanford have been recruiting Thor the hardest, according to his mother. His father Junior, a former Cougar player, is leaning towards Nebraska simply because of their football tradition. In Polynesia, mothers usually hold sway over their sons and Stanford has recently caught her attention simply because of the education. "You know, it's academics that attracts me," Lani said.

Thor also commented on Stanford. "I like Stanford because they have a good academic program. I'll take my trips and see. I was talking to their coaches (Stanford) when they came down to BYU and they have one of the youngest teams in college football."

Pili currently has a 3.8 GPA and has passed the minimum NCAA Clearing House requirements. Thor is studying to pass a higher test standard in order to be eligible for Stanford in case he chooses to accept a scholarship there.

"You know Thor, this is his senior year and all of his core classes are finished, but he's still taking electives. He's taking physics for an elective. I told him to go take ceramics, photo or art, but not my son. He takes physics and psychology," his mother added.

At 6-4, 230 pounds, Pili has both the size and speed to be a defensive end or a tight end at the next level. Unlike the mythical god of Scandinavian warriors, the ever-humble and polite he is quick to downplay his personal stats and season performance. "It's okay; it's not going as good as I want it to be," Pili said.

He has been hampered most of the season with a nagging leg injury. His coach says Pili possesses good side to side speed, which allows him to string out runs from smaller running backs looking to turn the corner.

"The coaches said I'm second in sacks or something like that. Isley (Filiaga) is like fourth or fifth. At first is a kid from Timpview (High School) in the league for Utah County. I don't know the kid's name."

The "kid" is speedy junior outside linebacker Luke Ashworth, another future recruit that has indicated a strong interest in BYU.

Timpanogos assistant coach Kevin Curtis feels that under the right conditions, Pili could even become a successful receiver at the D-1 level.

"With the right receivers coach, Thor (Pili) could excel as a Z receiver on offense. He's got great hands and a great stride. He gets off the ball quick and you gotta be able to turn that into a correct rout. You gotta guy who can be a great downfield blocker."

During the North Sanpete game, Pili made repeated catches over the middle and in the flats as a tight end. Not only does his size make him a favorable target, but his ability to gain yardage after the catch is his true asset at the tight end position.

"They've been throwing to me a lot, but our team just can't score," said Pili, reflecting on a few losses his team has endured.

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