Cottonwood High School is quickly becoming one of the Pac 12's most heavily recruited pipelines. Seemingly every year, Cottonwood is sending players to Pac 12 schools. In 2011, Cottonwood sent one player to the NFL (Stanley Havili, USC), and will feature another as the starting Running Back at Cal (Isi Sofele).
The University of Utah has also harvested Cottonwood High School. Three players on Utah's roster come from the Salt Lake City school. The Ute staff would love to add more Cottonwood athletes in coming years. From the 2013 class, Utah has already offered QB Cooper Bateman, WR/TE Siale Fakialoatonga, and now OL/DL Elijah Tupai, with a few more getting interest.
Elijah Tupai comes from a family that loves football, and sports in general. Elijah's sister plays basketball at UNLV, while his older brother was once a highly regarded football star in the state of Utah before a family move prevented him from playing his senior year in High School.
Thus far in his high school career, Tupai has shown flashes that make recruiters believe he could become a dominant player at the collegiate level.
Tupai is receiving interest from all of the in state schools, with offers from Utah and Utah State.
"I've been talking to Utah and BYU a lot. Utah State offered me before I even got to know them. I got to talk to some of the coaches at Weber when we went down there for a big man competition, which we won."
"Utah offered me, but they want me to bring my parents in."
At 6'5, 250 lbs, the 2013 OL/DL prospect shows so much versatility and strength that college coaches are mostly undecided about what position the prep standout will play at the next level. Tupai can power clean 295 lbs, bench press 265 lbs, and squat over 450 lbs.
"Utah wants me as a DE, but when I was over there, they had me doing both offensive and defensive drills. They said they might want me on defense, but they also might want me on offense. When I went to BYU, they were trying to talk to me about playing TE."
Tupai is learning to use his versatility to gain a competitive advantage over his opponents on the field.
"It depends on the (opponent). I can use strength, and speed, but usually I do my footwork first, then if I need to use power I just throw it in."
Though Tupai has discussed the option of playing with his high school teammates in college, his decision will not be based on which school his teammates choose.
"It would be nice to stay with my group again, but they're not always going to be there."
Jay Hill has been Tupai's primary recruiter, though he has also spoken with some of the other coaches on the staff.
"(Hill) is just saying to keep it up in the weight room, get bigger, and stay on top of my grades."
With two full seasons ahead of him, Tupai plans to be patient with the process.
"My mom told me to be wise about (the process). So I'm thinking about waiting until the end of my senior year, so I can see all my options."
Utah Offers Another Cottonwood Colt
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