Tennessee Pututau plans to narrow his list of schools before the 2017 season kicks off, so the next few months figure to be an important segment of his recruiting process.
The four-star athlete from Salt Lake City (Utah) Cottonwood recently made a stop by nearby Utah to see the Utes in their spring game and, though he had been there several times before, told Scout.com it was a special experience.
"It was really cool watching the game and seeing my cousin, Hautai, over there," Pututau said. "I've been there quite a few times already and it's felt like a great place to be. I got a chance to talk to the coaches again and that was great, too. I talk to coach Morgan Scalley the most and he's real cool. I feel like I could talk to him about anything. It's like he's already family to me because he's been keeping in touch for a long time. We're on the same page and it's real easy to talk to him. It's probably the best relationship I have with a coach. I would say Utah is all the way up there for me right now."
The Utes sit in a great spot as the spring evaluation period rolls on, but Pututau said he doesn't intend to make a decision soon. He wants to cut his list before the season, take official visits and announce a commitment once he gathers sufficient information on his suitors.
Tennessee became the latest program to extend a scholarship offer and Pututau said he's already looking into a visit to SEC country.
"Having the same first name as the school is great," Pututau joked. "I look forward to seeing how good of a program it is and checking out all the things they have and the players that have gone there. I want to get out there and see for myself what it's all about.
"Coach (Mike) Canales was telling me it's a great fit, that it's the University of Tennessee and my name is Tennessee, and that there's no better match than that. Hopefully I can get out there at some point to see things."
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Pututau, who is rated No. 12 among athletes in the 2018 class, also hopes to make a couple Pac-12 stops this summer.
"I'm going to try to go up with some of the boys from my school to Washington, some time after our spring ball," Pututau said. "Coach (Ikaika) Malloe has been recruiting us hard. I've been up there on an unofficial visit with Taniela (Pututau) when he was being recruited, and I want to get up there again to see everything and make sure I haven't missed anything new.
"The other one I'm interested in is Cal. There's a lot of family in California, so that would be a good choice for me in case I decide to go there."
Pututau has committed to play in the 2018 Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.