Two Visitors From the Islands

A linebacker prospect from Honolulu will visit UCLA this weekend, along with his teammate. UCLA has only been recruiting him for about a month, but he said, if everything is right, he could commit on his visit...

Taualai Fonoti, 6-2, 240, Honolulu (Haw.) St. Louis, will officially visit UCLA this weekend, along with his teammate, offensive linemen/defensive end, Mesepa Reed, 6-6, 230.

Fonoti, who had 76 tackles and 12 sacks on the season, said he's been recruited by many schools but has narrowed it down to three – Hawaii, UCLA and Stanford. He's already visited Hawaii, will visit UCLA this weekend and Stanford on January 25th.

Hawaii has been recruiting him for a while, naturally, but UCLA and Stanford only recently. "Stanford started recruiting me about two months ago," he said. "And UCLA just about a month ago."

Does he have a favorite? The well-spoken and diplomatic Fonoti said, "I like each program for different reasons. There's something special about each program. Stanford – for its rigorous academics. UCLA – for its academics and overall appeal. And Hawaii, because it would be close to my family if I attended there."

Fonoti said that staying close to home could be a factor. "It's something to consider. My parents have told me that they'll agree with whatever I decide, though."

There is a precedent of Fonoti sons going away to school. His big brother, Toniu Fonoti, is a 6-4, 360-lb. junior offensive guard for Nebraska. Fonoti said his brother left to go away to school and it was a fairly easy transition for him, and he believes it would be similar for him if he chose to go away to school. In fact, Fonoti has been to Los Angeles, as recently as last week. "I went to the Rose Bowl to see my brother play," he said.

The linebacker prospect said that he wants to wait to decide and take the trip to Stanford. Even though Stanford doesn't have a head coach at this time, the Cardinal hasn't diminish much in Fonoti's opinion. But he said that if the UCLA trip was really impressive, he could commit. "It all depends on the visit. If I really enjoy and determine that UCLA would suit me best, I could commit."

To date, only Hawaii has officially offered Fonoti, but he said that UCLA and Stanford have implied that an offer will be extended on his official visits to each school. He has completed his Stanford application but hasn't heard whether he had been accepted. Fonoti said he carries a 3.9 GPA and a 1250 SAT.

The fact that his teammate, Mesepa Reed, is interest in UCLA, Fonoti said won't really be a factor. "He's a good friend, but we're different people. We'll both make up our own mind."


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