Kirifi Taula to UA (Scout.com)
What makes the recruiting process interesting is that you just don't know what's going to happen. In the case of Kirifi Taula, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., a commitment happened in real-time Saturday. Or should we say, a re-commitment.
Before we spoke to Taula, we spoke to his father Victor, who told Scout.com that his son would choose between Oregon State, Washington and Arizona on Wednesday. Wherever that fax ended up, that's when they would know. To his mind, he had done everything he needed to do. He made sure Kirifi followed through on all his official visit obligations, so whatever decision came out of that fact-gathering process, the family would be content knowing that Kirifi had done his homework.
Then we spoke with Kirifi, who echoed his father's thoughts about his final decision. "I'm going to sit down and talk about it with my family before I sign," he said, Sunday night.
He quickly went through the positives of each program.
"With Oregon State, Coach (Mike) Riley is the man," Taula said. "He's a great coach. When I talked to all the players, they kept telling me he's the greatest coach and they all respect him. They really emphasize character and not just playing football, but also being close to your friends and your teammates. That was a big thing for me about Oregon State.
"At Washington, definitely the coaches at Washington were amazing. They are high-tempo and energetic, so that was cool. I really liked the players, and Seattle was an amazing place.
Arizona, when I went there this weekend - it was something special. I talked to all the players and they love it out there. And coach Stoops, he's a defensive guru, and since I play defense that would be good for me. And you could definitely get a lot of playing time there because they are pretty low on d-tackles over there. But definitely the players - I really like the players at Arizona. They stood out to me the most out of all the other schools out there."
Five weeks ago, before he had taken any official visits, Taula verbally committed to Arizona. He was asked Sunday night if that earlier decision would factor in his final choice.
"I'm a man of my word," he said.
And then it was as if the impact of those words hit him like they came from his blind side. He stopped for a second, then it all came rushing out.
"I'm telling you, I'm going to go to Arizona."
Why? "When I went there, it just clicked for me - everything. It's just the place I feel most comfortable at," Taula added.
Don't expect the Beavers and Huskies to back off in their pursuit of Kirifi Taula with 48 hours left before Signing Day, but for at least right now, he expects to sign with his first love - the Arizona Wildcats.