Spartans offer fast-rising LB Leiato

Steilacoom (Wash) senior has been one of the hottest names on the recruiting trail of late thanks to a viral highlight tape. Michigan State joined the fold before his Christmas.

One of the hottest names on the recruiting trail the past month or so has been that of Fotu Leiato.

The Steilacoom (Wash.) senior linebacker has seen his offer list increase from a handful of Big Sky schools to a national offer list with the likes of UCLA, Oklahoma and now Michigan State offering.

Steilacoom defensive coordinator William Garrow said the 6-foot-1, 200-pound had good sophomore and junior seasons, went to camp, but it took his senior highlight film getting major attention for the recruiting to follow suit.

”We finally got his film into the hands of the right coaches, and when he was offered his first Pac12 scholarship, the other programs really took notice,” Garrow said. “Then his highlight film kind of went viral, and it started to be seen by coaches from across the country. It got tweeted out, and then a couple of major outlets took notice and linked to it, and it just ballooned.”

The Spartans offered Leiato prior to Christmas, seeing a fit as either a physical safety in the box or an outside linebacker.

”The coaches at Michigan State really believe that Fotu is the kind of player that they thrive with,” Garrow said. “They've told me on the phone that they look for the aggressive physical athletic type of kid who can play a couple of different roles in their defense.”

Garrow said he does not know much about the specifics of the Spartans defense, just knowing it has a solid reputation for playing solid defense. Likewise, Leiato has been learning more about the Michigan State program since receiving the offer.

”He was excited to get the offer from Coach Tressel and learn more about the Spartan program,” Garrow said. “He called me up on the phone and was pumped up about the opportunity.

”He didn't know a ton about the school or the program, but he's had multiple conversations with coaches over the last two weeks on the Michigan State staff and is starting to really get a feel for the things they do that make them unique.”

With the recent explosion in interest, Leiato is in the process of figuring out visits to take before he makes a commitment. Garrow said it is likely will take official visits the final three weekends in January, with the possibility of taking a pair over the weekend of Marin Luther King Jr. Day.

But Garrow said Leiato’s current focus is on UCLA, Washington State, San Diego State, Nevada, Oklahoma and Michigan State in no order.

”He has to sit down with his family during the dead period and weigh all of his options,” Garrow said. “I'd say that Michigan State is just as likely to get a visit at this point as anybody else who has offered.”


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