Isley Filiaga "Green-Lighted" to Play for BYU

Utah's top defensive tackle recruit this year was notified during BYU's Friday morning practice he had been "green-lighted" by the NCAA Clearhinghouse today and immediately rushed to put on his helmet, pads and joined the defensive line unit on the field.

Isley Filiaga, arguably the strongest prep defensive tackle in the country, could not practice with the team until final clearance was given -- even as he attended all BYU football practices and defensive team meetings watching, wishing and waiting.

The 5-11, 285-pound defensive standout with a 4.9/40 has the Utah prep weightlifting records with a current bench press of 495 pounds. "It's been a long wait, but it will be worth the wait when it passes," Filiaga told several days ago.

BYU coaches and the school's complaince officer were optimistic he would qualify based on their review of his transcripts.

"They (BYU) went over all my transcripts twice. They said the only way the NCAA won't pass me is if they won't accept the credits that I've done already," he said.

The news of Filiaga's clearance undoubtedly was received with exceedingly great joy by BYU head coach Gary Crowton, defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall and defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi -- especially since BYU's top two defensive tackles, Daniel Marquardt and Manaia Brown, are still recuperating from injuries and may not be ready to play in their season-opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 4.

In comments to TBS several days ago, Filiaga said, "I'm glad I got this opportunity to wait and watch how everything happens. When I come in, I already know how everything is. To me, it's a blessing in disguise to tell you the truth.

"I want to practice, but I'm learning the plays and all that. When I go into practice with the team, I won't be far behind. I study the plays. I go to the meetings and everything. The only thing I don't do is practice, but I go to practice and learn with them," said Filiaga.

From what he's seen of his new defense close up, Filiaga already had strong thoughts and feelings about it.

"I love the defense. The defense is going to be solid this year. Coach Mendenhall is a good coach and I love him. We don't talk all that much, but he gets done what needs to be done. He tells us we need to work hard and get our mind right," Filiaga said.

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