RECRUITING: Cougs moving up Ahmu's list

ON AN OFFICIAL VISIT to Washington State for the Apple Cup was the top rated defensive tackle in the state of California, <b>Fevaea'i Ahmu</b>. Late Monday evening, Cougfan.com talked to the Serra standout about his trip, where the Cougs sit amongst his leaders and where he goes from here in the recruiting process.

The first official trip four-star defensive tackle Fevaea'i Ahmu took this year was to Arizona back in September. The Wildcats were his top choice until his visit to Colorado in October, the Buffaloes really making an impression on the 6-0, 290-pound defensive tackle. Then he traveled to Pullman this weekend.

Did the visit to Washington State shuffle things up again for the highly sought after Ahmu? Yes and no.

Ahmu told Cougfan.com late Monday evening that after talking with his, he has three favorites and all of them are equal right now. Washington State, Arizona and Colorado. Ahmu has a chart he keeps with all of the positives for each school and he had just finished updating it when we talked to him.

"Well, I was just talking (Monday night) to my dad, to my parents. And after reorganizing everything its kind of hard to make a 1-2-3 right now. All the schools, they have positives in different areas."

"Arizona is right up the way. It's not too far and its not too close, its good for my parents to commute back and forth to watch me play or what-not. And coach (Mike) Tuiasosopo is there."

"Washington State, you know, its a long ways away from home. But coach (Mike) Walker is definitely a positive there, his playing defensive tackle (in college and the pros.) It really seems like he knows the game."

"And Colorado, they have a real family oriented program over there. They've got (a number of Polynesian players) there. And oh, Washington State has some too. Ropati Pitoitua, he had a big game (on Saturday) and Paul Stevens, he's going to be a big player for them next year too."

So just to clarify, is it Arizona, Colorado and Washington State that make up his top three and that all three are on equal footing right now?

"Yes, that's accurate, that's accurate right there," affirmed Ahmu.

It's still very much anyone's ballgame for the defensive stopper from Serra High. And don't count out Oregon or San Diego State moving up in the weeks to come either.

"It's going to be a real hard decision," emphasized Ahmu. "And I've got Oregon coming up Dec 10 and San Diego State on Dec 3."

Ahmu plans on making his decision possibly late in December or in January. He'll also be traveling to Florida, having just been selected to participate in the California-Florida Bowl.

Ahmu and Serra lost a heartbreaker to San Marcos in the first round of the playoffs, the outcome in doubt until the final moments. Still, Ahmu and Serra had a remarkable year. After an 0-4 start, the Serra defense behind Ahmu averaged less than seven points allowed down the stretch, ripping off five straight wins en route to taking the Western League title.

IN DEPTH on Ahmu's visit to Washington State

On the overall feeling he got from the visit to Washington State...
"The visit overall was very good...I felt real good overall about the school and about the coaches."

On the atmosphere in Martin Stadium for the Apple Cup...
"The game was something else. It was overwhelming, there were so many fans there, so many Cougar fans. The Cougar fans were just giving it to the other team," Ahmu said with a laugh. "It seemed like a very hard place to play in if you were on the other side of the ball."

On taking the field to celebrate with fellow recruit Vic So'oto after the Cougs defeated their cross state rival...
"We were the first to get on the field," Ahmu laughed. "I broke out on the field, and me and Vic were over there just hoppin'. We turned around and we just saw a FLOOD of fans coming onto the field, patting the players on the back. It was something else. And it was something else going into the locker room afterwards too."

On how much he enjoyed spending time with the players and defensive line coach Mike Walker...
"The coaches were real cool afterwards. I got to spend time with a couple of their players, Ropati Pitoitua and Paul Stevens. I got to talk to coach Walker, the defensive tackle coach. I really had a fun time talking to him and hanging out with him on Sunday and (we talked a lot about football.) He showed me how I would fit in and how he thought I would do coming into the program....Coach Walker, I like him because he was a defensive tackle himself so I feel like he can teach me a lot as a player and make me better.

On coach Bill Doba...
"Coach Doba, he's real calm, collective and a fun going guy. It just seems like he'll take care of me if I go there."

On defensive coordinator Robb Akey...
"And coach Akey, he's high tempo and he's excited about me."

Ahmu also was more than a little impressed with coach Akey's hang time...
"I saw him get up!" Ahmu laughed. "I was like, 'I don't think he's going to be able to keep that up for four quarters' but he was just going and going and going -- He didn't stop! It was real fun watching him coach."

On bonding with Michael Willis, whose plan is to enroll at WSU in January...
"Me and Mike, we were kicking it. Mike is a cool dude. You know, we just bonded and had a good time. The whole time he was just excited to be there."

Ahmu went on to say he was more than impressed with the Washington State facilities -- the weight room in particular and with the strength program at WSU with coach Rob Oviatt.


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