So'oto on the Field with Canfield Once Again

When BYU defensive end Vic So'oto was a highly sought-after senior recruit for Carlsbad High School, his quarterback Sean Canfield was also being heavily recruited. Now So'oto will face Canfield when the Cougars take on Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

"We were both pretty highly recruited during high school," said Vic So'oto. "I remember we were both being recruited by a lot of different schools. I remember our coach would come down and say so-and-so from this college is looking for this person or that person."

At the time, Bronco Mendenhall was named BYU's head coach. Although Coach Mendenhall didn't recruit Sean Canfield, So'to was possibly his first commit.

"I remember sitting in [So'oto's] home and I remember the day he committed," said Coach Mendenhall. "I think he was the first commitment that I might have taken as a head coach and we've been through a lot together. If you take a look at the players that have come since this program, the leadership has taken over."

So'oto also recalls being recruited and committing to BYU.

"I remember on signing day he had a folder and I had a folder," So'oto said. "My folder was a nice BYU folder and his was a vanilla folder. It was kind of funny, but the rest is history. It was a long time ago and I don't remember everything that happened that day, but Sean has done well for himself and he's played well this year. He's First-Team All-Pac-10. He's leading in a lot of categories like pass efficiency and I think in yards. Sean is a great guy and he's a great player. He had a couple of rough years starting out but he's really finished up strong this year. He got invited to the senior bowl and is now looking for an agent. I talked to him a couple of days ago."

Although it's been quite a few years since the two shared the same team jersey, both So'oto and Canfield have stayed in touch over the years.

"Every time after bowl games we would meet up," said So'oto. "We would both hang out together when we got home. We would go out and meet somewhere and he would throw passes to me and I would run routes for him. We would just do some drills and things like that together to stay in shape for when we would return back to our colleges for the up-and-coming season. So, yeah, we're really close and I'm excited to watch him play in person and he's a good player. We're preparing for him and it's going to be a lot of fun."

This of course was when So'oto used to play tight end for BYU a few years ago. Now the 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pound So'oto plays defensive end and works to sack quarterbacks, not catch passes from them.

"Yeah, I don't run routes for him any more because I'm on the defensive line," said So'oto with a laugh. "Now we just go out and eat."

Many figured that BYU would be invited to the Las Vegas Bowl following the overtime victory over Utah. However, with the Pac-10 still in competition, there was some uncertainty as to what team the Cougars would face.

"Before the Las Vegas Bowl game was announced, I was asking him what his possibilities are of going to the bowl game," So'oto said. "We just kept in contact with one another as the process was going on, and when we found out that we were going to play against each other we just thought it was going to be cool and it's exciting."

Now the two friends and former teammates will square off against each other in the Las Vegas Bowl on December 22, but they've refrained from engaging in smack talk.

"We don't really talk too much trash to one another when we talk," said So'oto. "Our conversation now hasn't really changed all that much and we've both followed each other's career over the years. I want him to do good but not too good when I'm in I guess. I'm kind of rooting for him to do well but not too well. I want him to do good but not good enough to beat us."

Coach Mendenhall meanwhile has a lot of respect for Canfield and feels his well-mannered disposition is representative of his head coach Mike Riley. Coach Mendenhall hopes the two former high school teammates play to the best of their abilities in their matchup in Las Vegas.

"They're just having remarkable success and it's really fun to watch," Mendenhall said. "I would love to see them have more fun then they've ever had in Vegas and play at a higher level then they've ever played. I think that would be a nice finish to this year."

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