Finau Begins To Finalize

Tevita Finau has West Virginia high on his interest list as he maps out plans for official visits.

Finau, who graduated from Kahuku High School in Hawaii in 2004, hasn't played in a regulation game since then, but that hasn't stopped numerous schools from offering him a scholarship.

"Most of the Pac-10, West Virginia, Florida, Auburn, Tennessee and Oklahoma," Finau rattled off as he listed those that have made offers. "West Virginia was one of the first, and I am definitely very interested in them."

Interested enough that the exciting defensive end prospect has scheduled an official visit to WVU for the Louisville game on Nov. 8. He'll also make officials to Florida and Auburn, and likely will add two more before making his decision.

"Coach Wolfley is helping me plan all these out around our games, and I will wait until I take those trips to make my decision."

Wolfley is Dale Wolfley, a West Virginia alumnus who sent tape of Finau to his alma mater, as well as several other schools. While Wolfley certainly helped put Finau and West Virginia together in recruiting, he isn't pushing Finau toward a decision.

"Coach Wolfley asked me if I was interested in West Virginia and he told me he still has friends who are still coaching there. So I talked with the West Virginia coaches over the phone, and I kind of clicked with them right from the start. It's just gone on from there, and I want to go see the school. But after he did that, he told me the decision is all up to me."

Finau, who signed with Oregon State but never played there, returned to his home state and played rugby before coming to Phoenix College in 2006. He did not participate in a game last year, which means his first snap this year will be his first game competition since his high school days. Add in a position change (he was a tight end in high school), and there's not a lot of collegiate competition to go on. But after a monster spring game in which he dominated play, offers began rolling in, with WVU near the front.

"Recruiting has not really been a distraction," said the jovial Finau, who punctuates many statements with a hearty laugh. "I have been looking forward to playing and I have stayed focused on what I need to do on the field."

That includes learning the nuances and techniques of the defensive end spot, areas that Finau admits he still has to master. However, his raw natural ability and speed are naturals for the position, and made him jump off the screen when highlights of his spring game performance are viewed.

"Being new at defensive end, I am still working on a lot of things and trying to get better," he said. "It will be tough getting back into playing on the field in games, but I did get to participate with the scout team and play in the spring game [at Phoenix], so that helped some."

Finau, whose size (6-5, 275 lbs.) and speed (as good as 4.75 in the 40) make him an outstanding prospect, was a scary proposition on the rugby field, where he played for his father.

"Rugby was tougher than football," he said with a laugh. "You get a lot more bruises, and really beat up. I was working too, and when he heard about Phoenix College, he decided to take another shot at football. And now, with major powers knocking on his door, it looks as if that decision was certainly the right one.

"Things didn't work out at Oregon State, and I was supposed to take a mission out of high school, but that didn't either. "I'm on track to graduate in May, and I will have four years left to play three in college."

In addition to the schools he has already scheduled visits too, West Virginia will have to beat out Arizona State, which is located in neighboring Tempe, Ariz. Finau states that he has not begun to narrow down his list yet, although those schools that he has already set visits too, as well as the Sun Devils, are obviously high on his list.

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