At 6'1" and 215 pounds, Havili is the top "big back" in the west and while most see him as an immediate attempt to replace fellow big ‘un LenDale White in the power running game, Havili sees things a little differently.
"I bring my own style," Havili said. "I mean, I kind of run like LenDale, but I'm more in between him and Reggie. I'm a bigger back, obviously, but I'm going to show everyone that I can do my own thing."
While there's no mistaking his physical nature, what many analysts, as well as defensive backs, constantly mistake is his speed. For his size, Havili has outstanding speed and constantly breaks away from defenders in the secondary. He may not be the shiftiest or most elusive player on the field, but his effort and physicality are unparalleled. "USC fans can expect to see me give 100% on every play," he said, and followed it up with, "I love to hit."
As for the road he took to USC, Havili said he's been a Trojan fan since before being recruited. "It was after they lost to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl," he said, when asked when USC entered his radar screen. "I saw Troy Polomalu flying around out there and, even though they lost, everything about the team and the Trojans was just awesome."
Though Havili and the Trojans showed a mutual interest, the topic of Havili's mission trip continued to be a sticking point in the commitment process. He was interested in playing his freshman year, taking two years off to fulfill his mission requirement, and then returning to school to finish his career. Head coach Pete Carroll, however, was adamant that Havili not spend that much time away from school and the depth chart. In the end, the Trojan head coach and Havili were able to deal with the situation amicably and Utah's best player is now coming to Los Angeles.
"It's settled," Havili says of the mission discussion. "It's a personal discussion and it's settled."
But when it comes to playing for the Trojans, Havili was far more talkative. "When coach Carroll visited on the night I committed, I just had the right feeling that it was the right place to be. I decided to commit somewhat early and settle down mostly because my family was getting tired. The whole process wasn't glamorous at all and at times it was very hectic. But at the end, I could only see myself playing in cardinal and gold."
Over the past few years, we've seen that distance from home can play a large part in the mindset of out of state recruits, but Havili seems well equipped to handle that aspect of coming to California. "The distance was never a factor," he said. "If I wasn't going to USC, then I would be at Iowa, so either way I'd be pretty far from home."
When asked about his expectations for the coming season, Havili wasted little time in answering. "I expect us to be real good," he said. "There's going to be a lot of competition, but that's why I'm going to SC. To compete with the best. I'm looking forward to being around some of the best players in the country."
With Stanley Havili's commitment to the University of Southern California, the Trojans welcome an excellent football player and an even better person into the family. While it would be foolish to expect Havili to come in and immediately replace one of the Trojans' all-time greats at running back, it probably would be just as foolish to think that he won't one day leave his own mark at his new school.
Q&A With Stanley Havili
What is your favorite thing to do on the field?
I love to hit, and run people over when I have the ball.
What is your favorite thing to do off the field?
Hang out with my family, especially my nieces and nephews.
If you could play a different position for a day, which would it be?
Quarterback. I played there when I was little kid. It's a fun position.
If you don't play football for a living, what would you like to do?
I have no idea yet.
What is your favorite movie?
The Mighty Ducks
What song is at the top of your playlist?
"Turn your lights down low" by Bob Marley
A couple of words that describe your personality?
Funny and talkative
A few words that describe your game?
I just have a pure love for the game.
Who or what do you credit the most for getting you to where you are today?
My immediate family. My brothers and sisters taught me a lot growing up.
What is your individual goal for the year?
To play. I want to compete for playing time.
Who do you pattern your game after?
I'd say Walter Payton. He was smooth and loved to run people over. He was always running through tacklers.
What is something most people don't know about you?
I can beat-box
If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be?
The Prophet of my church and my two grandfathers.
What is your favorite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird.
Do you know all the words to "Fight On!?"
He hasn't even registered for classes yet, but it seems that Stanley Havili already has his first homework assignment.