Ala checking list for options

<b>Brandon Ala</b>, a 6-3, 220-pound defensive end from Kamehameha High School in Honolulu, Hawaii just finished up an in-home visit with one of the three schools he's seriously considering. With two official trips out of the way, Ala is in full-fledged recruiting mode and it's getting more and more interesting by the day.

"I just got done with a visit with the Oregon coaches," Ala told "It went pretty good. My parents liked it." With Brandon just coming back from his official visit to Washington, is he now able to determine a leader? "I really liked Oregon, but now I'd have to same that they are both equal now."

After playing in an all-star game with teammate Abu Ma'afala, they both grabbed the last flight out of Honolulu headed for San Francisco and then straight North to Seattle. Ala was still a little beat from the trip, but still beaming. "It was a pretty good trip," he said. "I liked it a lot. We went to practice and got a chance to check out the facilities, indoor and outdoor. We also got a chance to see the stadium and the academic programs."

Eating also took up a chunk of time. "Well, we got to go to the Space Needle and also to the Metropolitan Grill, the one known for their famous steaks," he said. "I got a porterhouse and an Australian Lobster Tail. The jumbo one." (laughs)

Ala's host was Hanase Hopoi, and Manase reiterated a theme heard throughout the visit. "He just told me how great it is up there and what a great coach Coach Nueheisel is. He's a guy that really takes care of his team. I really like that."

His one-on-one visit with Rick only reinforced Hopoi's thoughts. "I talked to Coach Nueheisel yesterday," he said. "That's when our scheduled visit was. He just let me know how he liked my work ethic and that he really wants me to come there. He told me that they would be setting up plays for me to come off the edge and wreck some hell."

Brandon also enjoyed his talk with Washington's Defensive Coordinator Tim Hundley. "They are recruiting me as a rush end," he said. "I talked to Coach Hundley and he talked about the position and their expectations of me."

Ala mentioned the Saturday practice as something that really piqued his interest. "I liked watching the coaches because there was no favoritism," he said. "They are intense but they aren't just yelling in your face. They are teaching. In high school, coaches just yell. The coached are really striving for the players to succeed. And the speed, whoa. They are just at a different level. In high school, there are certain players that stand out, but in college they are all the same."

But the highlight of his visit was just the interaction with all the players and recruits. "It was just great seeing so many Samoans and Polynesians there, guys I challenged against in high school," he said. "I played against Willie Kava. It's just so cool to watch guys that you've played against and see how their skill level has improved. That's going to be me in a year. They made me feel very comfortable. I just liked what I saw and liked what I heard."

Any players in particular that stood out? "Guys like J-Lo (Lobendahn), Willie (Kava)," said Ala. "They just really went out of their way to take care of us."

With current offers from Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Utah, Brandon knows that he'll need to make a decision from those schools. What he doesn't know is when or how that decision will occur. His official visits to Oregon and Washington opened his eyes, and Nueheisel let Ala know that they won't be able to hold out forever.

"I told him that I'm still going to take the rest of my visits," Brandon said. "I'm going to Wisconsin this weekend and then to Utah on January 11th and then UH on the 17th. I'm kind of thinking that I may just cancel my January visits, though. That's what I'm thinking. I don't know how long I can wait. I just saw 5-6 guys commit this weekend and 2 or 3 guys committed when I was at Oregon. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, can I wait?' I know Washington only has a certain number of spots, so that will play a part as to when I make my decision." Top Stories