When Junior Angilau was told by his high school coach to call the California coaching staff a month ago, it wasn't exactly the best time. His paternal grandmother had just passed, and he was at his aunt's house for the funeral. But, he took a moment, pulled out his phone and called the Bears. What he heard gave him -- and his father, Sione Angilau, Sr. -- the smile they both needed.
"It was, it was," Angilau said. "My dad was more happy, so that made me happy ... [The Cal coaches] said they'd be excited to have me out there, and that I need to come out there. I think I need to get down there. It would be better, because I like meeting people, in person, because then, I can get a better impression. I really have to make a trip down there to really say what I think about them. We only talked for a couple of minutes, and it was a bad day already, so we didn't talk that much."
It's a bit overwhelming for Angilau, considering he just started playing football his freshman year.
"I'm still trying to get the hang of everything," said Angilau. "I've got everything down, on the field, but now, I have to look at every program."
What took Angilau so long to get on the field? It wasn't rugby, which a lot of other Utah youths play -- "Oh, I wish," Angilau laughed -- but rather soccer and basketball. In eighth grade, Angilau was shorter than his sister, who stands at 6-foot-1.
"I was like a skinny, white kid," Angilau joked. "Before that, I sucked, dude. Oh, my gosh. My eighth grade year, that summer, I grew six inches. My dad was like, 'Oh, you should try football,' and I did, and oh, my gosh, I sucked, freshman year. I came back, though, and I got a little bit better, every time."
Doctors say that Angilau is still growing, now tipping the scales at 6-foot-6, 298 pounds.
Now, in all, Angilau has 15 offers His friends remind him constantly that he was a skinny little nothing just a few short years ago, "Constantly," Angilau said. "But, that's the good part -- I get pissed off and I go lift more than them."
Those offers are split somewhat evenly, Angilau said, between offense and defense. The Bears want him as a defensive lineman.
"Wisconsin, BYU, Cal, they all want me at D-line," Angilau said. "Texas, USC and Alabama, I think they offered me for O-line."
It doesn't help Angilau's eventual decision making process that he doesn't have any preference, when it comes to which side of teh ball he plays on.
"I know, huh? Dang it," Angilau laughed in mock frustration. "I love being on the field, and that's why I play both ways."
Meeting coaches face-to-face, though, will prove very influential. Angilau has already done that (twice) with USC, and once with the Longhorns. He's also paid visits to Utah State, Utah and BYU, since they're both within easy driving distance for the Salt Lake City product.
"They're all in my back yard," Angilau said. "hey have the NIKE camp and the Under Armour camp in L.A., and when I was down there, that's when I visited USC. I visited USC twice, and then they offered me. The only other place I went, other than USC, was Texas. They're great programs, man. The coaches are good, it's going to be a hard decision."
Angilau is still trying to figure out this whole recruiting world, but the one thing he does know is that relationships are king.
"I'm big with coaches' relationships," he said. "That's why I like going out there and meeting them. I remember, one time, when it was in the fourth quarter, my coach [Brandon] Matich, I was dead. I was playing both ways, and I was just dead. I was ready to fall on my face. But, then, I looked to the sideline, saw coach Matich, and he was like, 'Let's go, let's go, let's go,' and he was fighting for every inch for us, with a lot of energy. I know I'd die for that coach. I know that if I could die for my coach in college, I'll be the best person in college."
At some point relatively soon (he's still talking to his mother to nail down a date), Angilau will come out to get some face time with the Bears coaches, likely coming out with his friend and fellow Cal offeree Paul Maile. Another of Angilau's friends -- Tennessee Pututau, out of Cottonwood -- also holds an offer from the Bears.
"We're going to see what's going on," Angilau said. "I'll talk to them to see what they're thinking about, seeing if they're going to go down there, and see if I can catch a ride with them."
Academically, Angilau has a 3.5 grade point average.