QB nightmare, DE, Thor Pili

With a name like "Thor", you had either carry a big hammer or at least be able to present yourself like one. No problem for this defensive end as Thor Pili has already put the hammer down in making this his season to remember.

A reputation any defensive lineman out of Utah gets is that if he's any good, he's got like a bazillion sacks, tackles for losses or what not. The sack totals in the Mormon state often stagger the imagination, but such has become expected, so such is what you look for year to year.

Thor Pili had 15 sacks last year and while in most states, that would be close to a school record, in Utah, it's barely scratching the surface. Well, after a 4-sack performance in his last game in a season that Thor said is apprx. 13 games long, his season-ending total could be obscene, even in the state of Utah.

From the rush end spot, Thor's size (6'5" - 235 lbs.) would indicate to you that first and foremost, he's a speed-rusher type, using his quickness off the ball and ability to turn the edge as his main weapon of choice. You would be right, but Thor says that at times there are players that demand he find an aspect of his game not so frequently seen. "There are some guys out there that are big, but they can move to." Thor said. "When I go against those guys, I go to my technique, because that's what I have to do to get to the QB."

From his position, that's what it's really all about, getting to the QB. For any defensive player, a QB sack is the moment where it seems like you are untouchable, the best out there at that particular moment. "You are on top of the world." Pili said of his attitude after a sack. "It's like all you and there you are. It feels great."

There's something else that feels great, but as joyful as Pili is after he gets a QB sack, woe betide the runner that happens to find himself in the open-field with the ball, Pili bearing down on him with only one intent in his mind. "I want to crack him, but I want to hurt him to." Thor said. "I mean, it's just an attitude out there and you've got to have that to make an impact in the game."

Thor has already done that on opponents, but he's done that to colleges as well. With offers from the likes of Vanderbilt, Nebraska, BYU and most recently, Stanford, Thor's sitting pretty as they say in just starting his recruiting journey.

It's a journey that is filled with potential, but because of his athleticism, that creates a somewhat confusing but fortunate dilemma for the Timpanogos high school star. He's not sure what position he will play in college and in a lot of cases, he's not even sure what position those prospective colleges want him for at all. "A lot are just saying ‘athlete'." Thor said. "I ask each of them (the coaches) if I go there, what I will play and they just say that looking at my film, I could play either way."

The other way of course being the tight end position and though it's a position Thor is obviously good at ( he had 300 yards last year on just 17 catches), he knows where his heart really is. "I would like to play defensive end." Thor said. "I just like smacking people and I love the intensity of defense."

That intensity on defense is something that Thor doesn't just illustrate, he's something he's looking for at the next level. Wide are the criteria for every recruit as to what is important about the school they are looking at, at the next level, but Pili has it widdled down to two simple things. "They have to have a good football program for sure." Thor said. "And, after that, academics of course are a big thing to."

Thor is from Utah though and as most fans from other schools that see their colleges recruiting Utah players, they have become accustomed to losing recruiting battles with the state that ultimately gets them and that is of course, BYU. There's a lot of good reasons to go to the Cougars, proximity not withstanding, so BYU always stands as an obstacle for other schools when trying to get kids out of the state.

In this case however, fans in programs outside of Utah that want this young man, they can breath at least somewhat easier. "I talked it over with my family and I probably won't be going there." Pili said of eventually going to BYU. Ok, so that means out of state? "Yeah, more than likely." he said.

So, that begs the question of who sits highest on his list right now, if anyone, but Pili didn't have an answer as to his favorites, but did have an idea at least to two teams that he's almost certain he will visit after his football season is done. "I'm pretty sure I am going to visit Stanford and Nebraska." Pili said. "Right now, those are the only two I can think of that I want to see."

It's early though, in recruiting and in his season and there's plenty of teams out there that Pili said he will no doubt look at once he realizes they are looking at him. "There's so much out there, ya know?" Peli stated. "There could be a lot of teams I am not even thinking about that by the end of the year, they are on my list, so I don't know what's going to happen then, just what's going on right now."

Then describes somewhere around December as Pili isn't sure when all his official visits will take place, but he's certain they will be after the season and he's equally positive that he's taking all five. Outside of that, his certainty doesn't exist. "I'm just taking it all in right now." Thor said. "My season is more important, so there's no real reason to get in a hurry with something that will wait until I'm done playing."

Thor doesn't have any official visits scheduled as of yet and hasn't planned on when he even intends to set the dates for any either. And, if there is any one other team that Pili stated could see a visit if they offer, it's Arizona State. Outside of that, he's wide–open.

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619

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