With the recent loss of Bellevue (WA) High School's Julious Moore to UCLA, gaining the commitment from an out-of-state defensive tackle has become that much more of a priority. The Huskies already have one of the best at the position committed in local standout Sione Potoae of Lakewood (WA) Lakes High School, but hope to add Golden State product Kirifi Taula of Anaheim (CA) Servite to the fold.
Taula, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect, already boasts a double digit offer list, and is receiving interest from a number of other schools.
"I have 10 offers so far from Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah, Wake Forest, and Washington," stated Taula. "USC, UCLA, Oregon and Cal are also showing me interest, and I feel that I'll be offered by Cal and UCLA. I'd probably say that Oregon State and Arizona are recruiting me the hardest right now.
"Coach Nick Holt called me and offered about two to two and half weeks ago," said Taula. "Another Washington coach came to watch our Spring ball, but the offer still came as a surprise to me."
Though he favors the Golden Bears over all others, Washington has definitely peaked the interest of Taula.
"Cal is my favorite school, but I also like Washington, Arizona, Nebraska and Oregon State," explained Taula. "[I'm interested in Washington because] they have some of the USC coaches, and I want to go to an up-and-coming school."
Ideally, Taula would like to play his college ball in California. However, he's keeping all of his options open, knowing that it's a distinct possibility that an out-of-state school could be the better fit.
"I want to stay in California and my parents want me to stay in California, but I'm not closing any doors," expressed Taula. "But I definitely don't want to go to school too far from California. I would like for my parents to be able to take a short flight or drive to watch my games.
"None of the California Pac-10 schools have offered, but others have just by watching film, which means a lot to me. So I'd say it's 50/50 that I stay in California," explained Taula. "It'd be great if I got a USC, UCLA or Cal offer, but I'm still going to go through the process to see if I fit in at the school, because I may not fit in at USC, UCLA or Cal."
Playing time and comfort level top the list of things that Taula will look for in his future school.
"Playing time and a place where I can feel at home are what's most important to me," said Taula. "I need to feel comfortable and I need a family atmosphere.
"If I had a choice, I'd rather go to a school where I'd get playing time as a freshman or sophomore than a school like USC, where I might not get to play until later in my career."
Taula plans on utilizing all five of his official visits before making a decision, and currently Washington looks to be one of those five. However, Taula, who's already trekked to Arizona on an unofficial, may also take an unofficial visit to Montlake this Summer.
"I'm pretty set on making my decision after my senior season," explained Taula. "I plan on taking all five of my officials, and I'm definitely taking visits to Washington, Arizona and Oregon State.
"I took an unofficial visit to Arizona in February, and I loved it over there," exclaimed Taula. "I talked to all of the coaches, and they showed me the campus. They told me that they need defensive linemen and that I'll get playing time early in my career.
"My family has talked about taking a trip to see the University of Washington, since we have family in Washington, but nothing is for sure yet," explained Taula. "I still have one week of school left, so we'll decide everything after I'm done."
Whichever school lands Taula will get an athletic linemen who has the ability to play multiple positions on the defensive line.
"I'm a versatile player. I play defensive tackle, nose guard and defensive end, so you can play me anywhere on the defensive line," said Taula. "I move well for my size, I have good feet, good hands and I can bull rush - I'm very strong. My best attribute is probably the way I can read the run."