Three-star DE has high interest in Cougs

CHECKING IN AT 6-4, 265-pounds, three-star defensive end Uriah Leiataua is a force in the trenches. He's got plenty of college suitors, but tells CF.C the Cougs are definitely a team that sticks out to him. He's also in the process of scheduling an official visit to the Palouse for the near future.

Entering only his third season playing football, Leiataua still has some mechanics he needs to work on, but he has plenty of potential. His large frame and great hands have caught the attention of WSU, Colorado, Wisconsin and Utah, as well as Colorado State and UC Davis. All have offered.

"I'm taking my recruitment in stride, but I'm definitely interested in Washington State right now," Leiataua said. "I really like them and Wisconsin as well. I'd say they're both on the same level right now. I've been doing research on both schools, but I really want to see everything for myself. A lot of the stuff you see online is biased, so I want to take it all in in person.

"I'm not ready to list any favorites and I'm looking at all the schools that are recruiting me. Utah is up there for me as well."

THE DOMINGUEZ HIGH senior is scheduled to visit Wisconsin on Sept. 21. He and teammate Anthony Sims, who is being recruited by WSU as a cornerback, were both supposed to visit on Sept. 14, but that date has since been changed.

"I was hoping to visit them on Sept. 28, which is a week after my Wisconsin visit," Leiataua said. "If that doesn't work out, the coaches said Anthony and I can come and visit anytime we can fit it into our schedule. We both want to go at the same time and Anthony is really a big WSU fan. He's kind of getting to me a little bit by pumping up the program and making sure we set up our visit for the same time."

Sims has not been offered by the Cougar coaching staff, but recently said he felt a scholie could be put on the table soon.

The Cougar coaches have done a good job of keeping in close contact with Leiataua, he said. He said he speaks with the staff at least once a week, and has been talking with Mike Leach, d-line coach Joe Salave'a and area recruiter Dennis Simmons.

Simmons and Salave'a were both down at Dominguez High this spring and although Leiataua couldn't talk to them face-to-face then per NCAA rules, he caught a glimpse of both.

"Man, both of those guys look like they could still play," Leiataua said. "Coach Salave'a is a really nice guy and he's also very big."

WSU is recruiting Leiataua as a defensive end.

"I feel like I have a lot of potential," Leiataua said. "This is only going to be my third year playing football and I still have a lot to learn. I think if I'm around the right coaches, though, I can develop into being a great player. I'm great with my hands and I work really hard. I make sure to give it my all on the field every play.

ALTHOUGH LEIATAUA is a member of the class of 2014, the earliest he plans to be suiting up in college is 2016. Leiataua is LDS and is planning on doing his two-year mission immediately after high school. It's something the WSU coaches are well aware of.

"I've already let them know about my mission after high school and they're fine with me doing that," Leiataua said. "Coach Leach coached at BYU and Coach Simmons played at BYU, so I think they have a pretty good understanding of how it works.

"My mission changes my recruitment too, though. I won't be at the school I commit to for two years, so I have to make sure there's a strong culture and see if I think the coaches will still be there by the time I arrive. It feels like I'm part of the class of 2016, so it's a little bit harder for the process, but once I get that gut feeling, I'll now what's best for me."

Leiataua is in no rush to make his college decision and is still in the process of scheduling other visits in addition to Wisconsin and WSU.

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