Utah has added its fifth recruit for the 2021 class when 3-star defensive end Viliami Pouha announced his commitment via Twitter on Monday night.
Pouha, who held offers from UNLV and Washington State as well, hails from Utah-power Bingham High School in South Jordan. He has long been considered a Utah lean prior to his commitment, especially since he's taken numerous trips to the campus.
But the biggest pull to attend Utah was the opportunity to not only follow in his father's footsteps, but to play for his dear old dad.
Sione Pouha, who is currently Utah's defensive line coach, had a stellar career with the Utes before being drafted in the third round fo the 2005 draft by the New York Jets. He then played in the NFL until 2012, all with the Jets, before beginning his coaching career with Utah as a student-assistant coach in 2015.
While following in his father's footsteps to attend Utah, Viliami plays a different position that his nose tackle father. As a defensive end, Viliami displays good size for the spot at 6-foot-2, 230-pounds and already has a natural feel for the game that can't be taught.
Viliami has a lot of upside to his physical stature, as he's currently pretty slender throughout his frame, which allows him to thrive athletically. He can easily fill out physically, and with the correct weight should not lose any of that athleticism.
You can tell he's been tutored by his father and the coaches at Bingham because ha already has an array of counter moves and pass-rushing skills against opposing offensive tackles. However, he isn't particularly great at any of them so refining that technique some more will be paramount to his success at the next level.
Viliami has no problem being physical at the line of scrimmage, and shows good awareness that if he isn't going to get into the backfield, to properly set the edge. He can also play with a hand in the ground or standing up, showing off his versatility — but he will have to chose one of the options to focus on more at the collegiate level.
Altogether, Viliami projects as somebody who will only get better as he gets older. Once he adds on the proper weight, look for his game to really take off when combining his natural skillset with his athleticism.
I expect Viliami to find playing time early in his career before emerging as a starter during the latter half and potentially garnering All-Pac-12 accolades.
At defensive end, the Utes are very young with junior Mika Tafua expected to have a major breakout season after shining as a sophomore last year — he'll be starting alone with senior Maxs Tupai. While there's a chance they're both gone after this next season, the backups this year are expected to be redshirt freshman Miki Suguturaga and a pair of incoming 4-star freshman Xavier Carlton and Van Fillinger.
Viliami is the fifth recruit of Utah's 2021 class, joining 4* quarterback Peter Costelli, 3* linebacker Trey Reynolds, 3* offensive lineman Kolinu'u Faaiu and 3* JC defensive tackle Tevita Fotu.