Four Sticking out for Taua

With well over a dozen scholarship offers, Lompoc (CA) Senior defensive tackle Ainuu Taua says he has four main schools who are talking to him. One of those schools is Wisconsin, who Taua is excited to learn more about.

After registering 42 tackles and seven sacks as a 2011 sophomore at Lompoc (CA) Senior, helping the Braves to the CIF-SS title and a 14-0 record, defensive tackle Ainuu Taua was priming himself for a big junior season.

But with injuries affecting his game, Taua acknowledged that he didn't put up the numbers that he set out to achieve. That's the main reason he can't wait to get back on the field and start competing once again.

"I am ready for the season to start," Taua told Badger Nation. "I've been counting the days until the season starts. Working out makes the time go faster, but I hope it goes by even faster."

In the weeks since his season ended, the 6-1, 270-pound Taua has been working on improving his speed and increasing his explosiveness in his legs by powering through front squats, dead lifts and sprints.

But before Taua – rated a four-star prospect and the No.8 defensive tackle in the country by Fox Sports Next - can start his senior season, he knows he first has to make some strides in his recruiting process. With approximately 15 scholarship offers, Taua hasn't been talking to many schools since the end of the spring evaluation period, but says a handful of schools are recruiting him the hardest.

"Ole Miss, Wisconsin, UCLA and Washington are the main schools that are talking to me right now," said Taua.

Wisconsin entered the mix for Taua in late April, which sparked immediate interest for him in the program since his high school offensive line coach played for Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen when Andersen was at Utah.

Not only does that connection have Taua interested because of the positive things he's heard about Andersen and the program, but he likes the changes Wisconsin is making to its defense.

"If I really, really wanted to take it to the next level, that 3-4 defense is the defense I have to get used to," said Taua. "They (Wisconsin) seem like they get their offensive linemen to get the defensive linemen better every day. I heard they bring in the big dogs on offense."

Taua is being recruited by defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a, who has made him feel comfortable when the two converse.

"He's a real cool guy," said Taua. "I haven't really gotten a chance to talk to a lot of coaches, but I like Coach Chad."

Taua also mentioned Ole Miss as a school he is highly interested in, as he already has planned to take an official visit to Oxford when the Rebels host LSU on October 19. That's the only official he currently has scheduled.

"I really like that they use four down linemen on their base defense," said Taua. "I am not sure about everything because I haven't visited there, but the coaches are pretty cool. I've gotten to know a couple of the coaches on their staff."

In addition to visiting Ole Miss in the fall, Taua is hoping to visit Washington this summer. Taua wants to commit after his senior season, and has a specific criteria of what he's looking for as he goes through the process.

"I am looking to see if the coaches are cool and if they are going to be there for the players," said Taua. "Are they good coaches? Is the team full of good guys? Are other recruits going there? How deep is the depth chart? How far do I have to go to get a starting spot? How many upperclassmen are in front of me? Those are the couple things.

"I like what's going on. I'm ready for next year. I'm anxious to see what college I go to. I am ready to see some schools this summer. I am just ready, ready for anything."

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