Ioane Gauta put together a solid two years of football at Fullerton College, the oldest community college in California. The 6-foot-3, 302-pound defensive tackle is now setting his sights on his next destination. Currently, he has three Division 1 offers.
"Kansas State, Iowa State, and Hawaii have officially offered me," said Ioane Gauta. "I've also been hearing a lot from Indiana. This weekend I'll be making my first official visit to Kansas State."
Gauta played as a freshman at Fullerton rotating in behind Uriah Grant, now at Ole Miss. An early season ankle injury hindered his season, but Gauta finished strong with 22 tackles and two sacks in eight games.
"In the second half of the season, I started playing a lot better," said Gauta. "While I never got to my highest level, I'm happy with my performance. I'm feeling good, back to lifting and running. I'd say I'm probably at 98-percent."
Kansas State has utilized Junior College players probably as well as any other program. Gauta, who grew up in Anaheim, is excited to see what the Midwest campus has to offer him in the next two to three years.
"I really like Kansas State," Gauta stated. "Coach (Mo) Latimore is recruiting me. He's a cool guy. They're honest with their needs on defense as well as what they can do for me to achieve success. What they're selling, I'm buying into."
At Fullerton, Gauta has developed an appreciation for a program with a family atmosphere. Although he grew up close to campus and played at Valencia High School he knows what it's like to be far away from home.
"We have many out-of-state guys on the team," said Gauta. "We eat dinners together as a team to make it feel more like home for those guys. It's great. I've enjoyed my two years [at Fullerton]. The lifting program they have is top-notch. They've taken what I have with my game and further developed it. I feel like I'm well-prepared to take the next step."
All of Gauta's offers have been from the Midwest with the exception of Hawaii, still a good distance away. Most likely Gauta will become the out-of-state teammate next season, so he's hoping to find a place with people he can relate to.
"What I'm looking for is a team I'm comfortable with where I have good relationships with the coaches and the players," Gauta said. "I want to be a part of a team with a professional attitude. The environment and facilities don't really matter that much to me. I want to be around coaches and players who represent their school well and express that in a positive way."
Gauta played the one-technique on the defensive line for the Fullerton Hornet defense. Once the injury was less of a factor, Gauta was a tough force in the trenches.
"Mainly my hands and feet were the most improved areas of my game," Gauta said. "As a freshman I played to my strengths. This year with quicker hands and footwork, I was able to get off the ball faster and get of blocks easier."
Fullerton won their first five games, but lost their last five on the 2011 season. Gauta wore No. 91 for the Hornets. He'll have two years of eligibility remaining, plus a redshirt year if needed.
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