Fonoti enjoys first official visit

This past weekend, Cerritos OT Fou Fonoti (6-5, 306) took a visit to Pullman to see Washington State play host to Oregon. While the outcome on the field wasn't ideal, he said the visit couldn't have gone better and a lot of it had to do with the family atmosphere around the program...

According to Fonoti, he had never been on an airplane before and that aspect made the start of the trip an adventure.

"When I got it, I was like 'how do I read this airplane itinerary' and stuff, it was sorta intimidating," Fonoti admitted to "I went with it though and then when we were taking off I was like 'man we are moving really fast' and then we started to lift off.

"I was like 'how can we get this big, heavy thing off the ground' so I decided I was going to go to sleep and try and sleep it off, but I was only able to sleep for about 10 minutes."

Once he arrived in Pullman, he said he understood why a lot of players have decided to commit to head coach Paul Wulff and his staff.

"My host was Jordan Pu'u-Robinson and he said that one of the reasons he chose Washington State was because of how the staff and the program have that family feeling about it," Fonoti said. "I can see that big time because of the way the coaches were and all that.

"I got to meet a lot of the families of the coaches and some of the players and it just felt really good.

"It was amazing to me."

Another thing that impressed Fonoti was the small-town atmosphere and gameday experience.

"Everyone in the town is totally into the football team," Fonoti said. "I was on a bus and one of the bus drivers had a Washington State sweatshirt on and talked about the program.

"When we got to the game, it was hype. I mean, I felt like I was going to play and it was hard not getting out there.

"They didn't win, but you could see what they are building and you could see how close they are to success."

When Fonoti sat down with coach Wulff Sunday morning, he said he was surprised by one thing the coach said.

"He told me that they wouldn't be recruiting me if they didn't think I could be an impact player for them," Fonoti said. "I'm going to admit I was a little humbled by that and it's hard to believe, but it was heartfelt and I really appreciated it.

"He said they want me to think about things and consider them when I make my final decision and I told them they will definitely be in it."

In addition to his official offer from the Cougars, Fonoti also has offers from Arizona, Florida International, Houston and New Mexico and he said South Carolina and Michigan State have also started to pick up the pace as well.

"I'm thinking about taking a visit to Arizona and Houston right now," Fonoti said. "This was my first trip, so I didn't want to get too caught up in the emotions or the moment and commit.

"I'll take some more visits and compare them and then see where I stand."

Fonoti is expected to finish up his AA degree in December and he'll have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

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