UCLA DT Target Jay Tufele Takes First Official Visit

Oct. 26 -- Scout 300 defensive tackle and UCLA target Jay Tufele, a four-star prospect from South Jordan (Utah) Bingham, made his first official visit over the weekend...

Jay Tufele didn't exactly know what to expect when he boarded his flight out of town for the weekend, but what transpired at Michigan on his official visit certainly left a lasting impression.

The four-star defensive tackle from South Jordan (Utah) Bingham didn't know much about the Wolverines aside from what he had heard from staff members and what he had seen on television, so the weekend was his own sort of crash course on everything maize and blue.

"Shoot, I liked it there a lot," Tufele told Scout.com. "The atmosphere of the campus, it's just a great college town. It was awesome.

"I took a lot away from it. They have amazing academics and are obviously one of the top public schools in the country. I talked with all of their advisers and counselors, and they basically set you up to succeed. They have a large alumni base, so when football is done there is always a way for you to get a job. It was cool."


Tufele, the No. 37-rated prospect overall in the Scout 300 for the 2017 class, got an inside look at the power of the Michigan degree, as is the case with every official visit, but seeing the product on the field was another important factor. Members of the coaching staff worked closely with Tufele and many others at the Pride Camp in Utah this past summer, and the nation's No. 3-rated defensive tackle was curious to watch Michigan's front up close.

"Not every school gets a chance to compete for national championships and, knowing them and how good they're doing with coach (Jim) Harbaugh given how long he's been there, I know he's going to be there and they're going to be there for a while," Tufele said.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Tufele has developed a quick bond with Michigan director of player personnel Tony Tuioti and was able to expand on that relationship over the weekend, as well as meet Wolverines commit Phil Paea.

"Me and Tony, it's just like me with my brother," Tufele said. "He's awesome. Whenever I need help with anything, I know I can hit him up. Him being Polynesian, he understands where I come from. He's an awesome guy.

"With Phil, we just met but we definitely kicked it off. It was like we had already known each other for a while. He's an awesome guy and I've seen his tape, so I know he's an amazing athlete, too. The coaches were telling us how deadly it would be if he and I were lined up next to each other. Just thinking about it, it would be amazing."


Detroit-based rapper Big Sean was in the locker room after Michigan's dominant 41-8 victory against Illinois, and Tufele said meeting him was a "once-in-a-lifetime moment."

And while the trip was his first of five, Michigan undoubtedly set the bar high.

"I wasn't expecting that much but, man, they are up there," Tufele said. "I would say right now, since they're my first visit, they are probably leading now. They did an amazing job showing me how awesome it would be to play and live out there. The family atmosphere is something I look for in schools and I could really feel it over there with all the coaches and players."


The next step in his recruitment has yet to be set, but Tufele said it would most likely be an official to Ohio State for Thanksgiving Day weekend when the Buckeyes host Michigan. With the other three visits, Tufele intends to sort through his other five contenders: BYUUCLAUSCUtah and Washington.

Tufele, who will play at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January and is on the list for the Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii, said he intends to announce a college decision on National Signing Day.

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