Alex Toailoa Completes BYU Visit Father Never Made

<b>Falevi Toailoa</b> was excitedly looking forward to visiting BYU in 1991 with San Bernardino Junior College teammate <b>Mike Ulufale</b> when a career-ending ACL injury dashed his future gridiron aspirations. Ulufale visited, signed and starred at BYU and now Toailoa's oldest son will tour the Provo campus today to finally take a visit his father never made.

"I really like BYU and I grew up as a BYU fan," Falevi said on the eve his son, Alexander Toailoa, a defensive tackle from Los Amigos High School (Calif.), takes his first recruiting visit with a Cougar scholarship offer firmly in hand.

The Cougars, however, are not a lock for Alex, who has narrowed his final college choices to BYU, Oregon and Idaho. He has been recruited by the Cougars since his sophomore year and was offered a scholarship two years ago as a junior. Arizona State also extended a scholarship offer, but recently withdrew it when they presumably signed a higher priority defensive tackle.

All Alex Toailoa, a 6-0, 255 pound standout with 4.69 40 speed, did as a senior this past season was record 17 sacks and 60-plus tackles in his very competitive Orange County league. He was named the Garden Grove Defensive Player of the Year; First Team All-League; Second Team All County (Orange) and All-CIF, Division 9.

Although the Toailoa family is not LDS, Alex commented the positive factors for BYU is that "I like the positive influence there. My parents like the education and the atmosphere there.

When asked if he was aware of BYU's stringent Honor Code, he said, "I'm all for the Honor Code. I totally agree with that and I don't have a problem with it at all. I like that Provo is a college town and I've heard the education is good. That should make me a better person. I respect the fact that it you're not Mormon, they don't press you."

If there is a possible chink in Toailoa's armor, it may be academics. His father said yesterday his son is close to achieving qualifying test scores. "BYU has been coming after my son since his sophomore year. I've been very impressed with Steve Kaufusi (BYU defensive line coach). He has stuck with Alex and encouraged him in the classroom.

"The final decision is up to him (Alex) which school he wants to go to, but I really appreciate BYU. They have been honest from day 1. It's a powerhouse football program and I have followed it for a long time, even last year. I watched all their games and if they didn't have some key injuries, their record would be much better."

For his part, Alex adds, "My dad is basically for any college that provides a good education. He's a sports fanatic and he's played football in college. The good thing about it is he's giving me the space so I can pick for myself.

On his weekend recruiting trip to Provo, Alex said, "I really want to see the facilities, the whole football program and meet the people over there."

After this weekend, Alex has a visit scheduled for Idaho Jan. 16 for the simple reason that new Vandal head coach, Nick Holt, developed an immediate bond with Alex at the Trojans summer camp last summer while he was a USC assistant coach.

"He spent time with me with so many other kids there and really pushed to get me motivated. USC said I was too small, but he called me when he went to Idaho. Everyone shut me out (at USC) except for him.

His final visit is to Oregon Jan. 23. "The best thing about Oregon is they play in the Pac-10."

On the field, Toailoa's stats and post-season accolades speak for themselves, but that doesn't stop proud father Falevi on commenting on his son's football prowess.

"He's a hulluva player. I played football myself and I can tell you honestly he's (Alex) a much better player than I was at that age. He's so quick with his hands and feet. There's not a time he wasn't double or triple-teamed all season, but they couldn't stop him. He was too fast with his hands and quick with his feet. He's really well balanced coming off the ball."

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