Latu begins official visit circuit at ASU

The recruiting process for Mo Latu may ultimately be a lengthy one, but his first official recruiting trip required just a short drive from his home. The Gilbert Perry lineman spent most of last weekend on Arizona State's campus and talked to Devils Digest about his experience.

Mo Latu's visit to Arizona State was naturally not the first one the local lineman has taken to Tempe, yet he did admit that he was exposed to some new aspects concerning his hometown school.

"I really got to learn a lot about ASU," Mo Latu said. "The academic area was one place I didn't see before. I also got to see how the boys are on game day and how they go through the process. I thought the defense did very well and they held their ground.

"The atmosphere was amazing, especially the student section."

The 6-2 318 Latu stated that his next official visit will be to Oregon and Missouri, but he doesn't have specific dates for those two trips. "I might also take a trip to USC," Latu commented. "They said that they were going to offer me."

The lineman felt that both Arizona State and Oregon are recruiting him equally as hard and he was happy he got to see both teams face each other last Saturday. Besides the obvious proximity to home that the Sun Devils have, there are two specific aspects that are helping the maroon and gold in Latu's recruitment.

First, is ASU's Director of Football Operations John Wrenn, who up until last spring was Perry's Athletic Director and obviously worked closely with Latu and the Pumas' football team.

"We have a relationship from when was at my high school," Latu remarked, "and that's a big thing in my recruitment. If I came to ASU he would be a big part of that."

Latu has also developed a strong bond with ASU's recruiting coordinator, Grady Stretz, who would also be the defensive lineman's position coach if he chose to commit to the Sun Devils.

"Me and coach Stretz are like best buddies," Latu said. "We email each other pretty often and talk not only about football but life too. He updates me about stuff that goes on with ASU. It helps the process that he's ASU's defensive line coach."

While they are some schools recruiting Latu as an interior offensive lineman, ASU and Oregon are pursuing him as defensive tackle.

"I feel like I probably want to play on the defensive side of the ball in college," Latu confessed. "I'm explosive off the ball and I do a good job using my hands. I have good leverage and am able to get to the ball.

"I'm at 318 lbs. now and I feel that I gained a lot of muscle in the last few months and I'm at a good weight. Last time in the weight room I squatted 500 lbs. and benched 405 lbs."

The Pumas are off to a 5-0 start this season, and Latu mentioned the team's dedication as the biggest reason for that record. "We study hard in the film room," Latu described, "and we take that to the practice field and carry it out from there to the game. We just try to do our best every week."

Thus far the highlight of this season for Latu is undoubtedly a 20-yard interception return he had for a touchdown during a 49-14 win over Casa Grande. "If felt amazing," Latu recalled. "Our coach always tells us to watch out for the screen passes and that if we do that right we will be able to get an interception. When I got the interception I didn't know I was going to get a touchdown too."

Latu anticipates taking all his official visits before making a pledge, and feels that this decision will come only after his senior season culminates. "The recruiting process gets a little crazy with all the coaches calling," Latu said, "but it isn't too bad. Some of my family and friends want me to stay close home, it's kind of half and half. Playing close to home would be nice but exploring other places would be nice too.

"I'm looking for a school that has good coaches, good academics, and good facilities."

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