had privately learned some weeks ago."> had privately learned some weeks ago.">

Russell Tialavea Makes Private BYU Commit Public

The 45th ranked player on "West Coast Hot 100" has committed to BYU, publicly confirming what <b></b> had privately learned some weeks ago.

Russell Tialavea, a 6-3, 290 pound defensive tackle with 5.0/40 speed from Oceanside High School, Calif., said the deciding factor "was the (recruiting) trip. It was a good trip even though BYU lost to USC. It was pretty much everything -- the players, environment, facilities and the coaches. Plus one of my cousins, Vic So'oto, came with me."

Tialavea's best friend and cousin So'oto, also a "West Coast Hot 100" tight end prospect may follow suit. "I told him (So'oto), like two weeks ago, that I was going to commit and he said he wanted to commit with me," Tialavea told TBS on Wednesday.

"He then asked his parents and they talked it over and he's going to take some trips after the season. He said when I committed he was 99 percent there. He hasn't committed yet. He wants to take a couple more trips."

"He (So'oto) said he liked the trip a lot too, and if I commit then he will most likely commit. We talk about it and he just called me 10 minutes ago. He said he was nominated to the Army All-American Bowl."

Another top BYU tight end prospect, Anthony Moeaki, was also invited to the Army All-American Bowl that features the nation's top 80 players. Moeaki was on the same BYU recruiting trip with Tialavea and So‘oto.

"He (Moeaki) liked it as much as we did. He said that if we commit, he was pretty much there too. I hope he commits. I hope he knows I talked to Vic and he's 99 percent there, so he needs to come too," Tialavea said.

Also present on the same recruiting trip was one of Utah's top Div. 1 recruits Matt Reynolds, the son of BYU's running back coach. "We talked to him. He's cool. He's real quiet. It sounds like he's going to commit, but you never know. I think he will," Tialavea added.

For his part, Tialavea noted the Provo school had a different feeling. "I went to Nebraska and that's pretty much it. The Nebraska trip was a real cool trip; nice campus, cool coaches and all the players, but I just didn't have the same feeling there like I did at BYU," he said.

Before his BYU visit, Tialavea had called a few college coaches to set up official recruiting trips. Everything, however, changed after his visit to Provo.

"They (coaches) said they were making it (trip schedules). I told Kansas State I was coming and Oregon State after I called them, but they hadn't set it up yet. After the BYU trip, I just told them never mind. After the BYU trip I was set. I planned two other trips, but I just forgot about it after BYU," Tialavea said.

Besides the unique experience Tialavea encountered at BYU, one factor that helped sealed his decision to come to Provo was an experience he had attending the BYU vs. USC game.

"I have a lot of family down there (Provo) too. Four of my cousins went to the BYU and USC game and they surprised me. I haven't seen them in like a couple years. They just patted me on the back and I turned around and it was my cousins. Two of my sisters live down there and three of my uncles live down there in Salt Lake, Roy and Provo," Tialavea continued.

Tialavea also learned he had a cousin on the BYU team. The Tialavea family name is matai (chief) title name for the Filiaga family. Defensive tackle Isley Filiaga, he learned, is a close cousin .

"My dad was like, ‘You know that's your cousin," Tialavea said. "I'll be playing alongside him, I guess."

Tialavea confirmed the colleges that offered him scholarships included Nebraska, Kansas State, Arizona State, Oregon State, California, San Diego State, UCLA and Colorado State.

Last year, Tialavea recorded 10 sacks, 30 solo tackles, 15 tackles for loses, caused 1 fumble and had 1 fumble recovery. He is currently on track to beat his surpass his 2nd Team All-CIF performance from last season.

"We've played five games so far. All I know is I've got seven sacks. I'm leading the team in everything. We go by points. Our coach set up a point system. A sack is 3 points, a tackle is 2, an assist is 1, an interception is 5. I'm killing everyone on the team in points," he said proudly.

Tialavea has a 2.6 core GPA and recently posted a passing score of 1070 on his SAT.

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