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California DL Deijon Lafitte Talks Surging Recruitment

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Ontario (Calif.) defensive lineman Deijon Lafitte is as hot as any recruit in the country currently. With multiple major Power Five offers rolling in, Lafitte talks about the recruiting surge and more with Sports Illustrated All-American.

"The beginning of my recruiting process was kind of slow," Lafitte said of what the process has been like. "You know, I was getting a couple of looks and I wasn't as developed as was then. A lot of coaches told me what they's like to see out of my film, so I took it upon myself to go work on everything they told me they'd like to see. I guess when they saw my film from last year to this year, they saw everything they needed to see,

and everybody started pulling the trigger."

For Lafitte, the process started to become very realistic over the summer, and it has only intensified as his senior season tape has made the rounds. In recent weeks, he has picked up numerous offers, including USC, Washington and Tennessee.

"It meant a lot, especially coming from a great coach in coach Nua and Coach Harvey," Lafitte said of receiving an offer from the home-state Trojans. "You know, they also told me I was a diamond in the rough. Everybody said that California doesn't have big d-linemen or big guys, so luckily they found me when they did, and they blessed me

with an opportunity to play at USC.

Lafitte quickly made his way to campus for a visit with the Trojans, and he had "a great time."

"What I really liked about it was the atmosphere and the culture," Lafitte said of the visit. "You know, coach Nua, I saw he would get on his guys, and even if they did make a good play, he wants greatness out of his

guys. They make a good play, 'okay, next play, I want another big play.' When a coach is always on you and has high expectations, I've learned that that's how you create a great player."

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Another PAC-12 school to recently enter the mix is Washington, and he likes the Huskies early on.

"I've got a good relationship with the coaches," he said of the Huskies. "Coach Schmidt and Inge were the first ones to give me my Fresno offer, so I have always had a good relationship with them for the past couple of years. They say they like my versatility because I am a big guy that can move laterally, and I can play any position on the d-line. They like they can do a lot of stuff with me in their multiple schemes."

"The message was they really like how I dominant the line of scrimmage and how I play like a true defensive lineman," Lafitte said of the message from the Vols when they offered. "They like that I am physical, cause havoc and that I like to clog the gap. That was all they really needed to see, and my measurables really caught their eyes."

Tennessee extending his first SEC offer to him was a big deal as well.

"It meant everything to me because my dream is to get to the league," Lafitte said of the Vols giving him his first SEC offer. "The SEC is the closest thing to that, so when I got the call that they would like to welcome me into their program if I wanted to go there, it meant a lot. I work hard for everything, but the SEC is just one step closer to the league."

While Lafitte has the opportunity to play for great coaches across the country, the resume of Tennessee's defensive line coach Rodney Garner caught his attention.

"It shows that is a coach you would definitely want to play for and get developed by," Lafitte said of the possibility of playing for a coach with a legacy like Garner. "He is a guy you would love to play for. He does it year in and out. He is a coach that can make my dreams happen. Obviously, that comes with work, though. He is not going to put you out there just to put you out there. He is going to make you work to get you where you need to be."

Lafitte has one official visit currently planned with Boise State for October. He currently plans to take it slow, see if anyone else enters the picture, then plan visits later in the fall before making a decision between now and December.

As he navigates the recruiting process, Lafitte has a plan in place to make the right decision.

"My parents have a big impact on my decision, and they really care about academics right now," Lafitte said of how he plans to navigate the process. "Really just whatever school I feel like supports me and my plans academically, which is to major in Business or Real State, has a good foundation, then that is where my home is going to be."