Su'afilo Top Lineman at LES Meet-and-Greet

Xavier Su'afilo was in attendance Monday with recruiting analyst Tom Lemming's meet-and-greet at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Total Blue Sports caught up with the big Samoan lineman for a quick update on summer plans, recruiting trips and, of course, BYU.

There were many top Utah football prospects gathered Monday at LaVell Edwards Stadium for photos and to meet recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who will be doing a national recruiting magazine feature that will include all those in attendance.

One of those prospects was Provo's very own Xavier Su'afilo, who was dressed in his Timpview football jersey for the photo shoot. This summer, Su'afilo will be racking up the frequent flying miles as he knocks off unofficial visits circled on his calendar one by one.

"I think this summer we're going to head out and check out a bunch of different schools," said Su'afilo. "We're going to check out USC, LSU, and we're going to try and run through UCLA, Auburn, Notre Dame, Miami and Colorado. We're going to try and get to all of those schools."

Su'afilo is taking his time and making sure he is educated on his options prior to making his decision about which college he will attend. The Thunderbird lineman wants to be sure he knows exactly what school is the right fit for him, and with so many options scattered all across the country, time is definitely needed for the process.

"I'm just still trying to find my fit, you know," Su'afilo said. "I just want to go to a school and a team where I can contribute, you know, early, and be as best a fit as an offensive lineman that I can be for their offensive system, where I can be an asset and fill big shoes basically."

With a long summer road trip ahead of him, Su'afilo knows he has a lot of work cut out for him as he explores, learns about and evaluates the many college campuses on his list. So what types of things will he be looking for?

"To tell you the truth, everyone says look for academics," Su'afilo said. "I don't really care much about that. I just want to go get a degree somewhere, but one thing that is a big deal to me is environment. That is something that I am concerned about, you know. I'm going to go down to Miami and check it out, and I have heard that it is beautiful, but in the last decade four or five guys got shot and killed over there. So, I don't if there is just a problem with crime or what.

"USC looks like a compound and when you come outside you're in the Inglewood ghetto, so there are environment problems, but yeah, I'm going to look at that.

"Also I want to see the facilities, you know. I also want to make sure the coaching staff likes me. You can be the best player in the nation but if the coaching staff doesn't like you, you won't play."

The news that good friend and fellow high school teammate Tui Crichton had committed to BYU was a bit of a surprise for Su'afilo simply because both had talked about taking a few trips to various colleges together later in the year. Knowing he wouldn't be doing that with his close friend was a little bit of a downer for Su'afilo.

"Before [Crichton] was telling me he was going to take his trips and all that," said Su'afilo. "Then the day of he called me and said that he committed to BYU. He said he prayed about it and talked to his parents about it and felt like BYU was the best place for him to go and the right place to be."

Although he wishes Crichton would have been a traveling companion with him, Su'afilo is understanding of his decision to commit to BYU early.

"You know, I respect that," said Su'afilo. "He's a really good player and I respect Coach Mendenhall and BYU, and it's a good place."

Su'afilo may have lost one traveling companion in Crichton, but with the recent offer from LSU to his good friend Richard Wilson, he's gained another.

"I was really excited, you know, because Coach Crowton came down from LSU," said Su'afilo. "I know last year, and especially during their bowl game, they used their tight ends a lot and they know how to block. I just told Richard that LSU is a cool place and he was interested and trying to get recruited, so when it all worked out and when he got hooked up we were both pretty pumped, you know."

Both Su'afilo and Wilson will be heading down to LSU on June 8 for the first LSU camp.

"Since I've been down there, I told [Wilson] it was great and he wants to go see a game and get more familiar," said Su'afilo. "He's talked with Coach Miles and their tight end coach and he thinks they're very nice guys."

Having someone he knows very well like Wilson at a place vastly different in terms of lifestyle, environment and culture is something that brings comfort to this Latter-day Saint football player of Samoan heritage.

"My parents aren't telling me where I should go," said Su'afilo. "They want me to make the decision. What they've said is if I'm going to go to a place like this or look at a place like this, it would be nice to have somebody [I] know there with [me]. With Richard coming down there with me, we can go and see if we can see ourselves being down there. Knowing that I would have somebody down there would be reassuring, you know."

On the flip side, his good friend Wilson also having an offer from BYU - located right in both athletes' own backyards - is also something very pleasing.

"I know everything about BYU," said Su'afilo. "I come to all of their activities and I feel I'm pretty educated about the program. I'm just not leaving it there, you know. I'm just trying to find the best fit for me, and if BYU is that place than that's great and that's where I'll be. I love it. I love the team and I respect them and everything, but I'm just trying to [learn] more about the situation."

With two former teammates signing with the Cougars and three current teammates having already committed, Su'afilo gets a friendly nudge from time to time.

"Well, Craig [Bills] wasn't so much because he committed early," laughed Su'afilo. "Bronson [Kaufusi] just thinks it would be sweet to be able to play with me, but Tui [Crichton], now that he's committed to BYU, well, he's bothering me about it."

Prior to any decision on where he will go, Su'afilo, much like Tui Crichton, will get down on his knees to ask for guidance. As time progresses towards making a final decision, one can expect this LDS football prospect, who plans on serving a mission, to be on his knees quite frequently asking for guidance.

"Yeah, you know I've already started to," said Su'afilo with a smile. "I think it will take a while for me, you know. I haven't been too specific in praying about it. I've just been asking basically for guidance and help in leading [me] in the right direction."

Su'afilo isn't quite ready yet to begin narrowing down the different schools.

"Right after I get a view of everything I'll start narrowing things down and get serious about it," said Su'afilo. "Towards the end of summer I'm going to start worrying about trying to get Timpview a third state championship and focus on that."

Su'afilo doesn't plan on making his decision until a while from now.

"I don't plan on committing at the end of summer," said Su'afilo. "I've been invited and have accepted to play in the ESPN Under Armor All-American Game on January 4. I'll probably be making a decision right around there.

"You know, everyone that I've talked to told me to not be in a rush. They just told me to take in the recruiting process and take your trips. This is an opportunity that not a lot of people get to do."


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