Cougs nab two steak eaters

COUGAR COACHES said in the fall that one of their goals this recruiting season was to land tWo big-framed prep defensive tackles. With letter of intent signing day drawing near, it appeared that goal was going to go unmet. And then, quicker than <B>Rien Long</B> on Carson Palmer, the Cougs land one of the premier tackles in the West and another who stands 6-foot-7.


The Honolulu Advertiser reported Tuesday evening that Tolifili Liufau, a lad from Jason Gesser's alma mater, St. Louis High, will sign a letter of intent to play football for WSU on Wednesday. He was the state of Hawaii's defensive player of the year as a junior and was widely rated one of the top 25 prep DT prospects in the nation and one of the top 10 overall prospects in the West. He's 6-3, 310.

There is one complication, though: He has yet to secure a qualifying SAT score --- a fact that scared all but WSU and hometown Hawaii away, leaving linemate Wilson Afoa largely in the late-season spotlight alone. Liufau's prep coach told earlier this year that the JC route would be a last resort for this big-time talent.

THE OTHER steak eater the Cougars have landed is Ropati Pitoitua, a 6-7, 245-pound DT from Clover Park High near Tacoma. He's a project who may grayshirt, but his size alone makes him worth a flyer. Before the Cougars came calling, he was entertaining offers from Nevada, EWU and Portland State.

He will join teammate Paul Stevens in playing football for the Cougars.

"I went there (to WSU) a couple of weeks ago. Tomasi Kongaika was my host. He told me that Washington State is a great school. I got to meet some of the other Polynesian players there, and they filled me in on what goes on there. "I want to go there because of the opportunity to play at that level," he told Tuesday evening.

Cougar coaches spotted Ropati while scouting Stevens.

Liufau and Ptioitua bring to 14 the number of prep players the Cougars are expected to sign this week. In addition, they have two JC transfers in fold.

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