Taitusi Lutui a "Firm" Commit for USC

BYU's No. 1 offensive line recruiting priority from the junior college ranks committed Sunday to play for the USC Trojans after dropping BYU from his list of favorites, <b>TotalBlueSports.com</b> has learned.

Taitusi Lutui, a 6-6, 370-pound powerhouse lineman with exceptional speed for his size, confirmed he made Trojan offensive coordinator Norm Chow's weekend with news of his verbal commitment. "He (Chow) was so excited; he's been really trying to recruit more Polynesian kids to USC. At USC, I'll be able to compete for a national championship and get a great education. I'm really excited about that.

Lutui said Chow connected him by phone to USC head coach Pete Carroll. "I talked to him and he was excited, too. He told me they weren't too sure about me."

The uncertainty for the USC coaches was BYU's strong recruiting pull and influence in recent years with LDS Polynesian recruits they have gone after and lost in head-to-head battles.

Lutui said he made his commitment to USC after he eliminated BYU because of "a few things that kind of made me upset. I was concerned about the coaching staff. I heard rumors that (offensive line) coach Lance Reynolds was not going to be there. As far as I know, he's one of the best O-Line coaches in the country. I really respect Coach Reynolds as a man and a coach.

He added he spoke with coach Reynolds recently and Reynolds told him the rumors were not true and that he was going to meet with his offensive line players to confirm it.

"He asked what percentage range he could count on me signing with BYU because they had another O-Lineman they would offer if I was not coming to BYU. I told him to go ahead and offer that player," Lutui said.

"With co-offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Robbie Bosco gone (reassigned with BYU's athletic department), I thought the coaching staff was unstable," Lutui said.

The Snow College standout also confirmed another key factor in his decision was the miscommunication snafu between his teammate Ameen Shaheen and BYU coaches.

"I was kind of bitter toward what they did to my friend, Ameen. He told me one of the coaches said he would have a scholarship, but in his meeting with the head coach during his trip, they told him he didn't have one for him. That hurt his chances for other scholarships he lost out on, even though he signed with Southern Utah. I thought BYU kind of played him. He was one of my really good friends (at Snow)," Lutui added.

Lutui, who was scheduled for his official recruiting visit to BYU on Jan. 16, noted his family favored BYU, "but they totally support me in my decision (to play for USC). I have a history with BYU with a lot of blood relatives going there (Ofa Mohetau, T.J. Sitake and David Tafuna among the current roster), but I did what I felt was best for me. My family is really excited for me."

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