Taitusi Lutui - OL - 6-5, 350, 5.1/40 - Snow Junior College
When you are Tongan, standing 6'5" and weighing in around 350 lbs. doesn't necessarily get you last place at the family buffet, if only out of fear that the table will be vacant after you went through. Nope, down in Tonga, they raise them big, Lutui not a template for your "average" resident, but his size doesn't amaze down there like it does to those unfortunate enough to line up against him. Taitusi attributes that really to one thing. "My mama." Lutui said laughingly. "She keeps us fed real good."
Not wanting to extend this update into five pages simply recounting the daily menu for this JUCO Giant, we rather cut to the "skinny" as to what he does with that size. Yes, block, and while you say it's much more than that, Lutui doesn't see it as complex as others might. "I just go out there and play." Lutui stated. "I don't know why I am good or even if I am, but I guess I do a good job."
There is a certain humbleness about Lutui, born from a mother that imprinted that quality into her kids, but also one of it simply being a part of his nature. He won't regale you with feats of greatness or go on about outstanding individual achievements. He'll just sit there, smile, share a nice conversation with you and talk as if anything he does out there isn't special at all.
Well, not to disagree with him, but I will, because you don't garner the ratings he has along with the praise that has followed him by not being special, at least to a degree. Taitusi may not be aware of his ability or potential, but every school out there recruiting him certainly is.
Nebraska is one of those schools, a place he just visited officially and Taitusi recalls his venture into the famed "Sea of Red". "I have never seen anything like that before in my life." Taitusi said of the almost totally-red-clad crowd. "The noise, all the excitement, it was something else. I haven't seen anything like that before."
The environment notwithstanding, Lutui was on a trip to do something other than experience an atmosphere. He had more important issues on his mind and you might find it surprising what he took most from his trip into Lincoln. "I really enjoyed talking to all the professors." he said. "I plan on majoring in sociology and that was real important to me to be able to see what the program had to offer."
The connection to BYU is considered to be an important one, cousin Ofa Moheatu a true freshman for the Cougars. Lutui said that it was nice he had relation there, but he's thinking of more than just going where there is someone he knows. "I'm not going for someone else." he said. "I have to think about what's best for me in where I go, so maybe I go there, maybe I don't, but it will be because I want to be there and not because my cousin is there to."
That certainty is about the only certainty this giant of a young man has right now. While he's impressed with the visit he had at NU, he's looking forward to the rest he has to take. As to when those will happen and when he can come up with a decision, he just pauses, kind of laughs and says, "I don't know."
"I guess when I think I've found the right place for me, that's when I will know."
We'll keep track of Taitusi as he continues on his visits and keep you updated as to any changes that might happen.
Steve Ryan can be reached at email@example.com or 402-730-5619