Recruit Profile: DT Simi Fili

Last season the spotlight at Cottonwood High in Salt Lake City was on running back and USC commit Stanley Havili, but the spotlight will be turned on his teammate and cousin Simi Fili in 2006.

The junior defensive tackle is one of the strongest prospects in the 2007 recruiting class. Fili said he did 73 reps of 185 pounds, one shy of the high school record.

That would be something most athletes would boast about, but Fili was almost apologetic when answering a question about his best assets as a football player.

"Not to brag or anything, but I'm real powerful up front and really like to have a hard initial hit," Fili said. "I like working on being powerful. I'm still trying to work on my speed though."

Numerous schools could use Fili's size and strength in the middle of their defensive line, and Fili said he's looking at USC, Oregon, Tennessee, BYU and Utah. He said he's received letters and information from each school, but he's only had verbal contact with Oregon offensive coordinator and former BYU head coach Gary Crowton.

"I want to pursue some out-of-state schools because I'm familiar with the in-state schools," Fili said. "I would love to see what's out there. I haven't decided if I want to play out of the state, but I'll look at some schools."

It was noted earlier that Fili's cousin is Stanley Havili, so there is a tie to the Trojans. But there are ties to Oregon and Tennessee, too.

"I have a cousin who went to Oregon, Haloti Ngata," Fili said. "He's done a lot of great things there and I'd like to follow in his footsteps."

Fili doesn't have a relative at Tennessee, but it does have fellow Polynesians and that, plus having one of biggest and loudest stadiums, means a lot to him.

"They have good ties with my coaches and I believe they have two or three Polynesians," Fili said. "They are really the first SEC school to have Polynesians, so they know how to handle us. I really like Tennessee."

If the Polynesian connection is important to Fili, he'll feel right at home with the Trojans. USC will have nine players of Polynesian descent on its 2006 roster.

There are reasons Fili likes USC.

"I really like USC because they're a top school academically," Fili said. "My cousin (Stanley Havili) will be going there and they have a real good football program, too. I really hope USC can be one of my choices."

Does Fili think he'll follow his cousin to USC should the Trojans offer?

"Well, I told everybody it could happen and it was a good choice for Stanley with USC being such a great running back school," Fili said. "I'm looking for schools that are great for linemen. So I'm not sure -- it could happen."

Fili said he's looking to visit out-of-state schools because he's already familiar with in-state schools such as BYU and Utah.

"They have a good coaching staff at BYU," Fili said. "I really like the head coach there and they're a real friendly team. "Utah was the first to offer me a scholarship and I like the competition there."

So there are family ties, Polynesian ties and local ties playing a factor in Fili's decision on his future school. However, there are two important qualities a school must provide Fili in order for him to sign a letter-of-intent next February.

"I'm looking for a good academic program and a school that has the coaches I feel most comfortable with," Fili said. "I get along real well with my high school coaches and I'd like for it to be the same in college."

Stanley Havili decided he will likely wait to go on his mission until after college or might not go at all, but Fili, also a practicing Mormon, said he plans to go on his mission after a year of college.

Fili said he had a 40 time of 5.1 – timed by coaches. He had a 5.8 forty time at the 2005 combine in Los Angeles, but the poor technique he demonstrated caused him to run a lot slower than he's capable of. will keep you updated on Fili's recruitment. Top Stories