Buena Park coach Ollie Lynch, who used to coach with former CU quarterback Mike Moschetti at La Mirada High School two years ago, said the Buffs' latest commitment is the best player he has coached.
Josh Tupou, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive tackle, visited Boulder this weekend and committed to CU coaches before leaving. Lynch said Tupou played both offensive and defensive line in his prep career, but was mostly being recruited for defense, which is where he fits in for Colorado. Tupou is the sixth defensive lineman to commit to coach Jon Embree and his staff in this cycle.
"Utah was recruiting him and Norm Chow really like him on offense," Lynch said. "Quite a few teams liked him on offense, but I think Utah was the main one looking at him on offense."
So what can Lynch tell CU fans about the player they are getting in Tupou?
"I've had a lot of guys go on to play D-I and this guy is the top of the line," Lynch said. "He's the best one I've had. I had two guys starting at Utah this past year. This guy will be a big time player for CU. No question about it."
So why is it that Tupou was so lightly regarded by not only Scout.com, which rates him a two-star prospect and just the 98th best defensive tackle in this class, but other services as well?
"He's a guy who if he would have played his junior year with us -- he played at another school and had no film -- I mean he would be a four or five-star recruit,"Lynch said. "No question.
"He played at Orange High School and when he came over we didn't have one snap on him. He passed the eyeball test but you don't know until you get them in pads. He was just unbelievable. His intelligence level is one of a kind. Usually you get a bigger guy like that and they may not hustle. They rely on their strength. He doesn't. He finishes plays. He goes full effort in practice and he plays with an attitude as well."
Lynch said that attitude and intensity got Tupou in trouble with officials in his first game this season, but after that he has been everything a coach wants in a senior lineman.
Buena Park plays both and odd and even front and Lynch chose to move Tupou around within the defense depending on what the opposing offense liked to do. Lynch said Tupou is solid against both the run and the pass.
"He would get double and triple teamed," Lynch said. "Pretty much every team would sick their whole offensive line on him. He's a guy who if you don't block him you're going to be in trouble. Most teams, he would be their entire focus. He's just that dominant."
Lynch said Tupou competed against USC left tackle commit Max Tuerk in lineman competitions recently and handled Tuerk "fairly easily." He said one of his most memorable plays of the season came against UCLA commit Aaron Porter from La Habra High School. Porter blitzed and Tupou picked it up. The play ended in a stalemate.
"He's a guy who can play almost any position, but I see him putting on even more size," Lynch said. "He's like 300, 310 right now and ever since football ended he's been hitting that weight room. It's unbelievable watching him in there. His first week we had him without lifting any weights, he put up 225 23 or 24 times, and that was without much work in the weight room. Now he's hitting it hard.
"He's a guy who will have a chance to play even at the next level, and I've never said that about any other player I've coached. He's something special."
Lynch raved about Tupou's intelligence. He said Tupou scored a 22 on the ACT and should have no problem getting into school.