L.T. Filiaga, the 6-foot, 235-pound three-star middle linebacker from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, returned yesterday from his first official visit at BYU. “It was great,” Filiaga said.
The Cougars are only about 20 mins away from Filiaga’s home so he’s already pretty familiar with them but says he got a chance to see a different side of BYU this time. “It definitely felt like I was away from home,” he said. “This was the first time I got to spend so much time there and really talk to the players.
“I really like being able to see what it’s like being a student athlete there and experience that for a little bit,” he said. “It felt like I was already part of the team. I really like how they operate and how everything is run there. They really support each other and do things as a unit.”
Filiaga, ranked as the No. 16 middle linebacker in the country by Scout.com, says there were about 15 recruits visiting the Cougs this weekend and most were already committed. “Most of the guys there are committed to BYU and they all know each other,” he said.
The Cougars also received a commitment from four-star linebacker Kyle Van Noy from McQueen High School in Reno, Nev. Van Noy Scout.com’s No. 9 weakside linebacker in the country. “I know he committed but we didn’t really talk about it,” Filiaga said. “I just congratulated him.”
The only other recruits who visited BYU this weekend and aren’t committed already (besides Filiaga) are four-star offensive tackle Xavier Su’a-Filo, from Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, and five-star linebacker Manti Te’o, from Punahou High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. “I know those guys pretty well,” he said.
“We’ve talked about playing together and how great that would be, but we’re making the decisions for ourselves,” Filiaga said. “I’m still taking other official visits and I know that Xavier still has some visits to take too.”
His player host for the Cougs was junior defensive lineman Russell Tialavea. “He was great,” he said. “We talked about how BYU has helped him become a better person and stay in line.
“He says that BYU football is different than at other colleges,” said Filiaga, who is LDS. “At BYU, football isn’t their number one priority. They care more about how they portray themselves and the community and when you do those things right the football just falls into place.”
Filiaga admits it’s that kind of mentality that he loves most about BYU. “I have a great feeling about them,” he said. “It’s definitely a place I can see myself. They have really high standards and are different because they are a Mormon school.”
But what was the most fun aspect of his visit to BYU? “We went snow-mobiling up in the mountains,” he said. “I’ve done it before and it’s a lot of fun. We had a Texas guy who really biffed it on a turn, but he’s okay. It’s was a great time.”
Next weekend Filiaga will be visiting Utah (Jan. 17).
“I’m pretty familiar with them already too,” he said. “I’m not sure what to expect from the visit though. I think it’ll definitely be different from BYU though. It should be fun. They had a great season and just won the Sugar Bowl so they must be very happy right now.”
He still hopes to trip to Washington and Stanford. All of his favorites have offered.
“I still want to take all my visits,” he said. “My trip to Utah is already set and I’d like to go to Washington after that (on Jan. 24) and Stanford at the end of the month (Jan. 31). Those aren’t set yet.”
Filiaga has always had the two in-state schools on top and they do seem like the ones to beat.
“The academics at Stanford are unbelievable,” he said. “I really want to see what they are like.
“I know that Washington has been struggling,” Filiaga said of the Huskies. “But they’ve got new coaches and should be moving up. I don’t really know much about coach Steve Sarkisian, but he was at USC. I’d just like to go there and get to know them.”
Filiaga reports a 3.8 core GPA and a 19 ACT.