No. 8 DT prospect in the nation trips to WSU

SIMI FILI, the No. 8 rated DT prep prospect in the country, took an official visit to Washington State this past weekend. A US Army All-American, the 6-4, 330-pounder out of Salt Lake is simply a defensive force, at times this season he was unblockable. Fili talks Pullman experience, if it was what he expected and where the Cougs and others stand. And don't miss the two video highlight packages.

Fili said more than anything else, Washington State's perseverance, spearheaded by defensive coordinator Robb Akey, was what resulted in his taking an official trip to the Palouse this past weekend for the Apple Cup.

"It was a lot about the coaches contacting me and talking to me and my parents," said Fili. "They contacted me numerous times. And the more they contacted me, the more me and my parents realized they want me."

The trip experience itself to Wazzu was something of a surprise to Fili.

"I didn't think I would say this, but I really liked it," said Fili. "I thought at first I would just go to Washington State on a trip but coming back on the plane I said, 'Wow, this would be a really good place for me to play and dwell,' and I wasn't expecting that...It was great. It was a lot of fun, it was really great to see what Washington State was all about."

AMONG THE CRIMSON HIGHLIGHTS for Fili, getting an inside look at the Washington State weight program. Fili loves lifting, as evidenced earlier this year when he put up a ridiculous 73 reps with 185 pounds on the bar.

"Washington State was in a fairly small town, and so there's not the distractions here and there of a big city. And it was small, but they had everything that I'd be looking for. They had a tremendous weight lifting program, and they have (strength coach Rob Oviatt) and that's my big thing in recruiting -- the coach that will work you out. He was just real. He's a really good guy," said Fili.

Fili's host at Washington State was Cougar freshman defensive end Preston Brooks.

"He was really cool I liked him a lot. He was really friendly, just came up to me and started talking to me," said Fili.

FILI'S DECEMBER SCHEDULE is fairly full. He has an official visit to Oklahoma State on December 2. The following weekend, he'll be taking the ACT test. The weekend of December 16, he'll be tripping to ASU.

The visit to Washington State was his second official, he tripped to Eugene earlier this year.

"They compared similarly," said Fili. "One was a bigger town than the other, Oregon was bigger. And I really got acquainted with the fan base there at Oregon, it was kind of crazy. I just walked into the stadium and heard my name being chanted by all the students."

Fili said he remains open to everyone and things have a tendency to change week-to-week, but as of this moment, three schools are slightly standing out because of how hard they are recruiting him, Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Oregon. And that appears to be one of the key factors that will strongly influence his decision -- who shows him and his family how much they want him through frequent communication over the recruiting stretch drive.

"It's just all about contacting," explained Fili. "All those schools that I named are always contacting me. They're calling and constantly trying to talk to me and I (like that) about them."

Another big factor will be the makeup of a school's roster -- not in the sense of the prospects for early playing time -- but rather, the youth on the football program.

"I am starting to think about (narrowing things down) because I am going to go to just one school -- and it's really hard...When I'm just trying to get a feel of myself (at Washington State) they seem to have a lot of seniors (to-be) on that team. I want to come into a program where there's sophomores and juniors so their talent can rub off on me and and so I can learn from them. I think a lot of their guys are graduating. "But at the same time, I have no idea what could happen, anything could happen," he said.

NAMED A US ARMY ALL-AMERICAN earlier this season, Fili was virtually immovable from his nose tackle spot during his senior season at Cottonwood High, both single and double teams met with limited success against him.

Fili said he's trying to get down to around 320 pounds for the US Army Bowl in January, spending almost all of his spare time preparing for the game in San Antonio now that his prep season has come to a close.

"I don't want to get lost when I go to the game," said Fili. "That's one big nightmare I always wake up to, I'm running with the ball and I suddenly get tired and fall down, then I wake up and go, 'Oh, shoot!' I hate that dream."

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