BYU Moves Up on Top-4 List of California Prospect

After official recruiting visits to Nebraska and BYU, this top-rated Southern California prospect noticed one obvious, albiet humorous, difference between the two schools.

"I was sitting next to Vic So'oto at the BYU vs. USC game and we heard a BYU fan yell, ‘You stupid geek.' It made both of us laugh because when I went to the Nebraska game, everybody was drinking and swearing," defensive lineman Russell Tialavea said recently.

Tialavea says he currently has scholarship offers from BYU, Nebraska, Kansas State, Arizona State, Oregon State, Colorado State, San Diego State, California and UCLA.

"Right now my top schools are BYU, Nebraska, Oregon State and Kansas State," he said.

Brentt Eads, editor and publisher of Student Sports magazine (national magazine about high school sports and the organization that runs the NIKE summer football camps), said "the question is where to put him (Tialavea) – at offensive guard or defensive tackle. He's better than average athletically, but his strength is his power, which is why schools like Nebraska and Kansas State have offered. He came to the Nike Camp in 2003 (as a junior) and ran a 5.4/40; not bad for his age at the time."

Tialavea, a 6-3, 285 pound lineman from Oceanside High School, said he and So'oto were impressed with BYU and the fans. "I like the fan support," he noted. "Nebraska has a lot of fans, but I think the BYU fans were louder and crazier."

The highlights of Tialavea's BYU trip were the football game and the great food. "We ate at Tucano's and that food was really good." he said. "We had breakfast at the Legends Grille (BYU) and went to a barbeque at the BYU baseball field."

The end of the trip was also fun. "On Sunday, we went into the new Student Athlete Center and watched three highlight videos in the theater. One of them was the game against Notre Dame."

Tialavea said he liked assistant coaches Lance Reynolds and Steve Kaufusi. "Coach Kaufusi told me that they needed me on the defensive line because they have a lot of guy's graduating." he said.

He added one thing in BYU's favor was the fact he could play a year behind (BYU defensive lineman) Manaia Brown and learn from him. "I also have three sisters who live in Provo, and about five cousins." Tialavea noted.

The coveted prospect runs a 5.0/40 and recorded 10 sacks last year. He describes his style of play as "quick off the line and a hard hitter."

Both Tialavea and So'oto are unsure as to whether they will serve LDS missions.

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