Kicking Back
L.T. Filiaga (Scout.com)
National Recruiting Editor
Posted Jun 29, 2008


"I know the coaches at BYU really care about their players," L.T. Filiaga said. "They have a great program and it's a great community. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is great and I've already met him a few times. BYU is just a very respectful program. They care about more about giving then taking. They have bigger priorities than football and that's a very different approach. I think it's pretty cool."

L.T. Filiaga, named Tui after his father, goes by "L.T." or "Little Tui" despite being 6-foot and 235-pounds. Filiaga is the three-star middle linebacker from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah.

Filiaga has six scholarship offers and is still trying to narrow down his choices. "I'm pretty much just kicking back and enjoying my summer right now," Filiaga said. "I plan on taking all five of my official visits, but right now I'm still not sure where I'll be going."

His first offer came from in-state favorite BYU and he says the Cougars still lead slightly over the other schools which have offered him (Utah, Stanford, UNLV, Washington and Arizona).

"I know the coaches at BYU really care about their players," Filiaga said. "They have a great program and it's a great community. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is great and I've already met him a few times.

"BYU is just a very respectful program," he said. "They care about more about giving then taking. They have bigger priorities than football and that's a very different approach. I think it's pretty cool they are like that."

Ranked as the No. 23 middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com, Filiaga says the Cougars are recruiting him the hardest. "The whole coaching staff has taken turns writing me handwritten letters," he said. "They probably have sent more handwritten letters than anybody else and that shows that they really want me and care about me."

Filiaga's cousin, Harvey Unga, is a sophomore tailback at BYU. "I talk with him a lot," he said. "He loves it there. He says it's a great place that has a lot to offer."

Filiaga has already attended summer camps at both BYU and Utah. The Utes are another school that Filiaga admits he's always followed. "They are only 20 minutes away," he said. "But distance doesn't matter. I don't mind going out of state. I'll choose which school fits me best.

"I like Utah a lot, but it's totally different from BYU," Filiaga said. "I've seen them practice and I like how hard they work and the coaches have a great relationship with their players. Plus they've won like seven bowl games in a row and they've really proven themselves. They're always a pretty good team."

Filiaga comes from an athletic family and his other cousin, Nai Fotu, is a sophomore linebacker at for the Utes. "Utah opens their season against Michigan and I can't wait to see Nai and watch that game (on TV)," he said. "It should be great."

The only other school that Filiaga has already visited is Stanford. "The academics are the number one thing about them," he said. "Also the campus is really nice.

"I met their linebacker coach already and I really liked his style," he said. "He's very detail oriented and picked up on little things that I would have never thought of. I learned a lot from him."

Another coach that Filiaga says he enjoyed talking to is Arizona's defensive line coach, Mike Tuiasosopo. "He said he was really impressed by my highlight tape," Filiaga said. "I really liked talking to him and he told me he loved how physical I was on the field and also how I was a good student off the field."

Filiaga reports a 3.8 core GPA and received a 19 ACT and hopes to graduate in December. "I'm going to try to graduate early," he said. "I'm LDS and I plan on going on my two year mission, but my plan is to graduate early, play spring ball, play my freshman year and then go on my mission."

The one school that has offered Filiaga already that he admits he knows very little about is Washington. "I really don’t know much about them yet," he admitted. "I've seen them on TV a few times, but I really like the Pac-10 because it's such a challenging conference."

Despite growing up in Utah and following both the Cougars and Utes his whole life, Filiaga says he's also always watched USC and Oregon. "I really like what Pete Carroll has done at USC and how they run the defense," he said. "But they aren't recruiting me. I haven't talked to any of the coaches or anything.

"Oregon is also a great team every year that is fun to watch," he said, despite not being recruited by the Ducks either.

Filiaga finished his junior season with 98 tackles, 45 solos, three fumbles caused and one sack. His team made it to the state 5A semifinals, finishing with an 11-2 record.

"I think I'm good at reading and pursuing the ball," Filiaga said. "I'm great at tackling in the open field and am good at pass coverage, but I need to not hesitate. Sometimes when I see a gap I won't just shoot it like I should. I play it too safe sometimes."

He says he'd also like to improve his technique against linemen and get faster (claims to run a 4.6 forty). Filiaga benches 350-pounds and has a 34-inch vertical jump.



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