Masifilo: "Monday is the day"

The decision has been made, and Matthew Masifilo will tell college coaches on Monday where he is committing. The four-star defensive tackle from Hawaii has given himself three-plus days to sleep on his decision to make sure he has the right choice between Stanford, Cal and Washington. He talks about how the decision was made, the role his parents played and how he will learn the news Monday.

Thursday was decision day for Matthew Masifilo.

Thursday?  Yes.  The 6'3" lineman from Ewa Beach (Hawaii) Campbell High School told his final three schools - Stanford, Cal and Washington - early on Thursday that he would be sitting down with his parents that evening to hash out his college decision.  It took two hours, and afterward Masifilo could not have been more excited about his decision.

Yet here we are on Sunday, joining the Cardinal, Bears and Huskies coaches in wondering and waiting for Masifilo's decision.  The four-star defensive tackle decided that he wanted to sleep on his decision.  That in itself is not unusual.  What Masifilo has opted to do a little differently is sleeping four nights on his decision before telling the schools.

"I made the decision in my mind, and that's so refreshing," he beams.  "I just want to sleep it off, forget about it for a little bit and feel comfortable with it, just to make sure.  I'm not going to tell anyone until Monday."

"I've waited on it this long, so I don't think one night is good enough," Masifilo laughs.  "Things of this magnitude, you just have to take your time.  It's just three days, and I don't think anything will rush or harm this decision...  I'm just waiting for Monday to see if it still holds up.  Then I will tell them."

The roundtable discussion that took place Thursday night in the Masifilo household involved both parents and their 270-pound son.  The Campbell High School senior is respectful of his parents, but he was assertive in making this decision his own.

"A lot of people are always saying or asking about my parents wishing me to go here and there, but we got to a point where it's my decision," the younger Masifilo explains.  "My parents gave me some basics, but I'm going to this place because I want to be there, not because my parents wish to see me there.  This is my full decision, and it's not because my dad or mom were telling me to go a certain place.  Where I'm going is completely my decision."

"It was pretty dramatic, everyone getting all their emotions out.  It was kind of funny sometimes," he laughs.  "I was asking them for opinions and stuff.  They said, 'Oh, if you ever get married, is this same thing going to happen this way?'  I was like, 'Oh gosh, do you have to mention that?  Can you wait for me to go to college first?'  It was a good discussion, and I came out happy with my decision."

"My mom was really open," Masifilo continues.  "She couldn't really tell me what her strong side was.  My dad is very direct.  Those are my parents' personalities.  My dad deals in the business world everyday.  He knows how to deal with people.  He keeps things impersonal with coaches because he knows how the business world works, and college football is a business.  My mom is a nurse, so she kept in contact with the coaches a lot.  It's hard for her to say her thoughts - she didn't feel right - because she kept close relationships with all the coaches.  They both said their thoughts, and I shared mine."

The central activity of the evening involved listing all of the aspects important in choosing a college, ranking the three schools for each one.

"We just sat down and drew out all the factors.  I had every factor I could think of: academically, socially, environmental and football-wise," Masifilo says.  "We discussed each area and listed the three.  The best for this factor is this, and then second and third."

"That was just a discussion generator.  I'm not going to base my decision on a piece of paper," he cautions, however.  "It was just to generate discussion and get things out.  It was a theoretical decision-maker.  The result of adding those things up was for fun because the decision came from my heart and not some number.  I like math, and that's why I'm going to major in engineering in college.  But this was just for fun.  You build a bridge based on numbers, but I'm not going to base my decision on numbers.  That's something that comes from my heart."

While Masifilo is not prepared to share his decision, or which school ranked best in which area, he does discuss some of the more prominent criteria on the table Thursday night.

"Which place did I feel the coaches supported academics the most?  Which place were there the most internships available in the summer for my career?  Things like that," the recruit relays.  "Where did I feel have the best opportunity for me?  I had a couple pages of the variables we discussed.  I feel really relieved to have this decision in my head.  I'm just hoping it stays true, and that Monday I will be committed.  In two weeks I will be signing with the school of my choice."

Three Pac-10 rivals will learn their fate from Masifilo on Monday when he calls them.  That has been scheduled.  As for the four-star recruit, ranked by as the #21 defensive tackle prospect in America, there is nothing in particular planned to inform the greater public.

"Anyone who calls me up, I'll talk to them," he says.  "I'm not going to go out of my way to let the world know where I'm going.  But if people are interested, want to write about it and want me to call them, I'll call them."

One thing Masifilo knows is that there will not be a press conference at Campbell High School on Monday.

"I don't know who does press conferences in Hawaii.  I don't know that I've ever seen one done," he offers.  "I think it's good to keep it that way.  It keeps us young guys humble.  Some big media thing would make me out to be a big star, but when you go to college, you are a freshman again.  You're back down in the low ranks.  I'm not going to try to do anything like that, especially since nobody in Hawaii does that."

"For the next couple years, I'm going to be the guy everybody kicks around.  You have to earn your respect," Masifilo maintains.  "When you get to college, everybody is an All-American.  Everyone is a highly-recruited guy in college.  You have to go there as a freshman and earn it.  I don't want anyone to look at me and think, 'There is the guy who thinks he is all that, having all these guys come over just to hear where he's going to school.'  I'll keep it down low."

That is not to say that Masifilo is looking to dodge the circus that has so intently followed his recruiting saga the past 12 months.  He in fact explains his full support of the industry, which he believes has made all of this possible.

"If people want to write about it, I'll support all the websites.  I think the recruiting tracking is great for the sport," he articulates.  "The reason why we get all this scholarship money for college is because the fans go to the games.  If fans are interested in recruiting and you want to keep writing about it, I'm happy to give my story to people who are interested.  It keeps the sport alive, and that's why I'm able to go to college on a scholarship and get my education fully paid for.  It's because people are interested in the sport."

The interest on the eve of Matthew Masifilo's college commitment is at an all-time high.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the news as it breaks on, with one school celebrating and two nursing their wounds at the end of a long recruiting battle in the Aloha State.

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