Derek Tuimauga, the 6-foot-4, 320 pound offensive lineman from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, returned from his recent visit to Oregon quite impressed with Eugene and the Ducks.
“I went to junior day last weekend (April 28),” Tuimauga said. “It was great. My parents and I went down on Friday and met up with my cousin, Ruben Willis. We all stayed in the same hotel. It was a lot of fun. It’s so green there, everywhere.
“The next day we took a tour of the campus and facilities. The locker room was just amazing. It was top-notch with Internet connections, panel TVs, everything state of the art — top-notch.
“I got to sit down with the coaches and talk. I felt like I really got to bond with Coach (Mike) Bellotti and Coach (Steve) Greatwood (offensive line). I felt really calm around them. They are really down-to-earth guys.
“Coach Greatwood said that he’s looking at me to play guard because he likes my aggressiveness. He is such a cool guy. He’s one of the best line coaches around and I like that he uses positive reinforcements in his coaching.”
Tuimauga said that he also was impressed with Utah after his visit in early April. “Utah is still my number two right now. I really got a good feeling for the place when I was there. The dorms are top-class. It where the Olympic athletes stayed when the Olympics were here.”
“I got to see the business school which was great because that’s what I want to major in,” he said. “Utah has one of the top business programs in the country. My mom wants me to stay in-state, but she said that she’d be at every game wherever I played. I’m not sure yet if distance will play a role or not.
The Scout.com four-star prospect says he’s still waiting on offers from BYU, California and Washington.
“I’m hoping to get offers from all three,” he said. “BYU is recruiting me the hardest, behind Oregon. I talk to Coach (Paul) Tidwell (inside linebackers) a lot. He said that he wants to offer, but Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall wants to make sure I'm their guy since they have limited spots on the o-line this year.
“Coach Mendenhall said they just want to see a little more,” Tuimauga added. “He said to just keep doing what I’m doing and I should see an offer pretty soon.”
Tuimauga plans on heading down to Palo Alto for a combine on May 19. “I’m going to show them what I do down there. I know a lot of coaches are going to be there and that will be my time to shine. And hopefully after that, I’ll see offers from Cal and Washington too.
“I’m going to take my officials for sure,” Tuimauga said. “I think it’s important to experience all the different schools and learn as much as possible.
“I think I want to commit sometime around the start of the season,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m totally comfortable in my choice and that I know I’m their guy. I’m a young kid and this is a huge decision. I don’t want to rush into anything — it’s four years of my life. That’s a long time.”
Tuimauga reports a 3.6 core GPA and a 22 ACT - retake unreported.