Apple Cup visit has Cougs on top for JUCO DL

A VISITING D-LINEMAN this past weekend to Washington State was already close with a number of Cougars before the trip. So how did the trip go and did the Cougs move up on his leaders list?

Lyman Faoliu (6-2.5, 275) out of the College of San Mateo said his trip couldn't have gone any better. His former teammate at CSM, Cougar LB Justin Sagote, as well as Cougs he's know since high school (Toni Pole and Darryl Paulo) made it a weekend to remember.

"I most definitely can see myself there," said Faoliu when asked about WSU. "Though I haven't had any other visits, I feel Washington State has definitely bumped up to my No. 1 right now. I loved it, and just to be able to play with Toni and Justin, and be part of that d-line... me and Marquel Combs felt like we had known each other for a long time. If me and Marquel can go there and be part of a pretty good defense, one that people don't really know about -- that was something we talked about."

Faoliu multiple times during the interview mentioned the family environment at WSU being a big plus.

"It was a great environment, good people, I got to hang out and catch up with my friends and it's a program that is really turning it around. Whether I go there or not, they're on the rise," said Faoliu.

FAOLIU SAID HE'S keeping his options open for the next few weeks, with the mid-year signing period beginning Dec. 19. The main item yet to be decided is to see if UCLA offers, he said.

"I'm still really interested in them -- besides Washington State, UCLA is the other one," said Faoliu. "I'm big on playing in Pac-12, that's probably the only competition WSU has right now. I'm still open to other schools but right now, playing on the West Coast and in the Pac-12 has always been my dream... I'm just being patient right now."

Faoliu said he anticipates hearing from UCLA and on their plans regarding him in the next week or so. Faoliu has been offered this recruiting cycle by WSU, Maryland, Oregon State, UNLV, Fresno State, San Joe State, Utah State and others. He's rated three stars by

WHILE AT WAZZU, Faoliu said he got along famously with the coaching staff, including his possible future d-line coach, Joe Salave'a.

"Coach Joe, with him being such a big figure in the Samoan community, it was very comfortable talking to him," said Faoliu. "He is such a familiar name to me, I grew up with him in the (NFL). Me and him really bonded and I knew that was going to happen…I bought into everything the coaching staff said, with Coach Mike Leach and Coach Choate and (everyone else.) I know they're on the way up.

"The family environment, the one that's here at San Mateo, I see it over there too. There's no tolerance for selfishness out there… the guys that they've gotten rid of -- the guys that are there now and the guys they're bringing in, they all have that common goal. Things are changing and on the way up."

Faoliu got a close up view of the family feel at Washington State in the postgame locker room, when the Cougar players presented injured BUCK linebacker Travis Long with the Apple Cup trophy.

"He had some tears and that showed me how they are -- the family atmosphere I'm looking for, they showed me they're building it there…. And Coach Leach made a point that this isn't just a one-time deal, that the Apple Cup trophy needs to stay in Washington State's possession for years to come," said Faoliu.

THERE WAS A moment or two of levity after the game as well. Because Faoliu is tight with Pole, he gave him a little grief about being tackled five yards short of the goal line on his 60-yard interception return in overtime.

"I told him, ‘Maybe if you'd just have run straight instead of looking around and checking yourself out on the Jumbotron, you might have scored,'" laughed Faoliu. "He laughed and said maybe I would have had the speed to make it into the end zone but I said no. I couldn't lie to him – he was movin'."

Click here for individual 2012 game highlights.

  • Faoliu is versatile and can be effective at several positions -- 5-tech, d-end, 3-tech and more. He has three-to-play-two at the next level.

  • In 10 games this season as a sophomore at San Mateo, Faoliu racked up 46 tackles (19 solo), with 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles-for-loss, a fumble recovery and a pass break up.

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