Neli A'asa Visits U-M: Is Utah Commitment Firm?

Having moved to Big Rapids from American Samoa nine years ago, Neli A'asa is very familiar with the history and tradition of the University of Michigan football program. When the Wolverines began showing interest, he listened. However, is it enough to pull him away from his commitment to Utah? The three-star was on the sidelines for U-M's 33-17 season-opening victory over Northern Illinois.

Neli A'asa has been in Michigan for nine years. His parents moved the family from American Samoa to Big Rapids so they could attend Ferris State University. "I know my mom applied to Ferris and a school in Puerto Rico," A'asa said. "I was hoping she'd pick the school in PR, but I like it here. It was a big change -- in Samoa the coldest it gets is like 70-degrees. The first winter I was here it got down to something like 14-below."

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound defensive lineman from Big Rapids High School lists offers from Colorado, Utah and Michigan State. His uncle, Sulu Petaia played for Colorado, and the family is close to several Buffalo staffers, and said he has been to the CU campus many times attending camps. However, those ties weren't enough to get the talented lineman to play in Boulder. "I sat down with my mom and dad and we talked about what would be best for me, and Utah was it," he said. "So I committed to them. Michigan is starting to show interest now and Coach (Lloyd) Carr told me on Saturday that he wants to see me play in my first couple of games before they offer. They really didn't know anything about me until about a month ago, and he said they were surprised they hadn't heard about me until now. I'm solid to Utah though." A'asa's cousin, Bryce Scanlon, plays for the Utes.

A'asa said he likes to snowboard, and is looking forward to experiencing the slopes of the Rockies. He said that after the initial shock of his first winter, he is accustomed to cold. "The altitude is okay too," he said. "I've been to Colorado and Utah a lot so I'm used to it."

As a junior, A'asa recorded 67 tackles, eight sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two forced fumbles for Big Rapids High School. He has a 2.9 GPA and a 1260 SAT.

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