Sefa Tanoa'i Close To A Decision?

Pleasant Grove High School defense tackle and tight end Sefa Tanoa'i is being heavily recruited by Utah and BYU. The 6-foot-4-inch, 270-pound agile athlete will decide upon a school sometime this summer so he can focus on his senior season.

At the current moment, the University of Utah and BYU are both recruiting Sefa Tanoa'i the hardest, which is fine by him. Pac-10 colleges Washington, Cal and Washington State are also looking into the Utah athlete, but none of those schools have offered a full-ride scholarship yet.

"Right now BYU and Utah are both looking at me really strongly," said Tanoa'i. "There hasn't been as much interest from any of the out-of-state schools. I don't think they know much about me or my abilities. It doesn't really matter though because I really want to go to college here instate."

While the University of Utah hasn't offered Tanoa'i yet, it could join BYU soon by pulling the trigger on one of the more athletic big men in the state of Utah.

"Utah was recruiting me pretty strongly before BYU offered me," Tanoa'i said. "I've been talking to Coach Hill up there at the U of U, and I like all of the coaches up there."

Over the summer, Tanoa'i plans on putting his quickness and athleticism on display.

"I'll go to all the camps and Junior Days at BYU," he said. "I'll also go up to Utah's too."

Recently, fellow teammate Dallas Lloyd visited Stanford University and came away impressed.

"I think it's 50/50 right now between BYU and Stanford," said Tanoa'i regarding where Lloyd may end up. "He talks really strongly about Stanford after he came back. I know he wants to go to BYU and play quarterback there, so I don't know. I think it's 50/50 right now. I know he wants to go on a two-year mission though."

According to close friend Sefa Tanoa'i, the education at Stanford is something that is an attractive to Lloyd.

"I think Stanford is a school he is looking at academically," said Tanoa'i. "With BYU, I think it's mostly because of Brandon [Doman] and because that's where most of us will be going. Joey Owens is already committed to BYU and BYU is where I'll probably end up going, so he's probably thinking about that so he can stay and play with us."

Although Tanoa'i hasn't verbally committed to the BYU coaching staff, he isn't shy about telling Total Blue Sports he'll more than likely end up playing there.

"Ever since I was little I've just grown up cheering for BYU," he said. "My uncle Robert Anae is there and the coaches and players that I've talked to are great. It's just everything: the atmosphere, the coaches, the players, it's close to home and it's my church school. I believe that when you play for BYU, you represent a people and a religion. When I go to church, everyone talks about BYU. Going to church every Sunday, you hear people talking about how BYU is going to be this year. Everyone keeps asking me about this specific player or coach and about talking to them. For me to go and play for BYU and the people at church watching me and cheering for me, that would be a great honor."

Like with Dallas Lloyd, Coach Doman is also recruiting Sefa Tanoa'i. Tanoa'i has great personal affection for the BYU assistant coach and feels it would easy for him, as well as others, to not have as much personal interest in the university if it weren't for Coach Doman.

"Oh, he is just a great guy," said Tanoa'i. "I can tell him anything and talk to him about anything. He's really easy to talk to and is really funny. I know his brother and his nephew D.J. Doman, who plays on my football team. I just called Coach Doman barely and he wants me to come see him. He just a great guy and I love talking to him. I think it's pretty important to have a strong relationship with the coach that is recruiting you, and with Brandon it's easy to have that relationship. I think it's a lot easier to like a school that has a coach you have a good relationship with than a school that you don't. I don't know if Brandon wasn't at BYU [that] I would be looking at them as much."

According to Tanoa'i, he isn't exactly sure what position he'll play at BYU. He has the size to play defensive end or tackle, but also has the quickness and speed to play tight end or even fullback, and although he would prefer to play tight end, the position is loaded with quality talent for years to come. It's a situation that he is fully aware of, but he doesn't mind where he ends up just as long as he is able to see the field.

"They don't know what position I'm going to be playing," Tanoa'i said. "They don't know if I'm going to grow or get bigger or faster, so they don't know what position I'll play. I know they're looking at me at defensive tackle or defensive end when I go there. They're not really sure, they just know it's the school for me. I've played fullback before and I don't mind that either. I just want to play and don't really care where the coaches put me. I just want to get on the field. If I had a choice I would like to play inside receiver or tight end, but it doesn't really matter to me. I'll play whatever."

Tanoa'i has been working hard both in the classroom and in the weight room. He can put up some good numbers for being a junior in high school.

"I run a 4.8 in the forty and can squat around 435 and bench 310 pounds," he said.

So when will Tanoa'i make a commitment? He feels he'll probably pull the trigger soon so that he can get things out of the way and focus on his last year of high school football.

"I'll probably commit in the summer sometime," said Tanoa'i. "Maybe sometime in June. I'm not quite sure yet, but I'll probably do it around then."


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