Finding Your Inner Gorilla

After sending two players to BCS schools last season, Cottonwood High School has another prospect who also has the opportunity to land in the national spotlight. This prospect from Salt Lake City, Utah star grew up liking BYU and still does to this day.

A barrel-chested 6-foot-4, 315-pound Simi Fili is a beast of player in the trenches. As a junior, he can bench press 185-pounds 75 times and bench press 225-pound 35 times. He currently maxes out at 435-pounds and is training to increase his speed.

"I can do 35 reps on the bench right now and I gotta eat more talo [Hawaiian for taro] so I don't get slow," joked Fili. "The lu pulu [beef rapped in cabbage leafs] will make me slow, so I gotta eat more talo so when I get bigger and stronger I don't get slow."

Besides eating more talo to help bring out that inner animal within, the fun loving Fili has another secret plan.

"We'll first I'm going to go visit the zoo," said Fili. "You know, because when I play I like to bring the animal. My favorite animal is the gorilla so I want to bring out the gorilla in me. Right now, I'm just working on my speed. When you get up into college the game is a lot faster. It doesn't matter how big or strong you are it's all about speed."

As a junior, Fili was selected as a second team all-state selection. He would be a perfect fit for BYU's 3-4-4 defense as a run stopper up the middle. He was in attendance during BYU's junior day and was very impressed with BYU's Blue-White Game.

"Oh man, I loved the scrimmage," said Fili. "We had a lot of people out here and a lot of people turned out and we couldn't find a parking space. I've talked to Fui Vakapuna—he can run—it was good to be out there and feel the environment."

Fili is related to Stanley Havili who will be playing for USC this fall. He is also closely related to the Vakapuna family and talks to Fui Vakapuna about his experiences at BYU. Fili plans to follow in Vakapuna's footsteps by serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"I talk to Fui a lot and he said he really loves it at BYU," Fili said. "I've always loved BYU since I was little. Jason Buck told me that it's going to be kind of a trip with all the recruiting stuff that goes on, but he just said to relax and have fun with it and that's what I'll do."

Following the Blue and White game, Fili met with Coach Bronco Mendenhall and Coach Steve Kaufusi, who is closely related to the Fili family.

"Steve Kaufusi looks like a good legit person," said Fili. "His brother Jason Kaufusi coaches me back at Cottonwood. I can see how being coached by Steve would be kind of similar to Jason because they're brothers. I really love Steve a lot because we're related to each other, so that's kind of cool."

Currently Fili has offers from Oregon State, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Arizona and BYU. Fili is a definite defensive lineman in college.

"I'm playing D-line and that's what I'll play in college," Fili said. "To tell you the truth, I have no interest in O-line; I hate O-line. I love D-line because you can hit a person, you can grab them, and you can hold them and be nasty. I love being mean. I like lining up across from them and say, ‘Hurry up and hike the ball! Hike it, hike it!' That's just basically what I like to do."

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