Tai Looks Forward to UCLA

Henderson (Nev.) Liberty defensive end Sam Tai, a UCLA commit will be enrolled in Westwood in a month and he talks about his official visit and his relationship with another recruit...

Henderson (Nev.) Liberty defensive end Sam Tai is excited about his future at UCLA. The three-star committed to the Bruins last month and got to take an official visit to Westwood and Pasadena this past weekend, with his family in tow.

"It was really good, my family all went out there and we loved it," said Tai. "From all the trips I've been on, this was the one the coaches were most involved. Coach (Rick) Neuheisel, he likes to do the campus tour the most, and he's really involved personally. That was huge for me, getting a chance to spend time with him."

Tai was hosted by Sealii Epanesa and also spent time with fellow recruit Harvey Langi, who was hosted by Wade Yandall.

"Those two were who Sealii and I spent most of the time with," said Tai. "We hung out Saturday night, and they took us around the city. We talked to them a lot about schooling, and they showed us around the places around campus."

Tai said after Neuheisel, he spent much of his time with defensive line coach Todd Howard.

"Coach Howard told me he likes to rotate his freshman in and the rotation looks very good," said Tai. "They like me as a defensive end who can really pass rush."

Tai said since his commitment that Utah and USC had been showing a lot of interested and had asked if he would consider opening up his recruitment.

"Utah had asked me to open it up, and USC asked if I'd open it, and if I did, they'd offer, but I told them I was strong with UCLA," said Tai.

Tai had visited Colorado and Arkansas but said the UCLA campus was the one he was most impressed with.

"Just how everything was so closed in, I haven't seen one where the athletic buildings were in the center of campus. Everything is in the same area and you have easy access," said Tai.

Tai said he may be a late addition to the UnderArmour All-American Game, but said if not, he'll be in Westwood, enrolled, the first week in January.

"They said some spots could open up in the game, but if not, then after Christmas, I'll move out to L.A. and get settled in and start school on January 3rd," said Tai.

Tai said he hit it off with the other recruits on the visit, particularly quarterback commit Brett Hundley, linebacker commit Aaron Wallace and running back recruit Harvey Langi.

"There were like eight or nine of this weekend but I got to know Harvey Langi quite a bit. Harvey and I are second cousins. My mom and his dad are first cousins. I was talking to him all this weekend. This was his first official visit, but I'm definitely working on him. We talked about how we could be roommates. He has that option of graduating early. Me, Brett Hundley and Aaron Wallace, were telling him ‘you could be with us' and he seemed pretty good about it. He was loving UCLA. I'm definitely trying to work hard with him."

Hundley and Wallace, who will enroll early with Tai, also spent a lot of time together.

"Me and Brett definitely connected," said Tai. "I'm excited to be playing with him. He's a great quarterback and he's a real leader already. He was working hard to get Donovan (Smith) and Tony (Steward) too. I'm looking forward to playing with him."

This was Tai's first visit to UCLA since his commitment, and the reality that in less than a month, he'll be a student there, was exciting for him.

"Just on the visit, it kind of hit me a little more, that I'd be in college in a month," said Tai. "My mom was like, ‘in a month, we'll be over here and you're a college student. That got me excited."

Tai said his family, particularly his mother, loved everything about the visit.

"They definitely loved it," said Tai. "My mom was very pleased with how Coach Neuheisel treated us and took us around. She looked at me at the end and said ‘you made the right choice and I'm definitely happy about it."

Tai is LDS and said he still doesn't know what his plans are for serving his mission.

"It depends on how everything works out," said Tai. "We'll see how my freshman year works out."


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