This past weekend, the University of Utah hosted a number of recruits, including highly talented and sought after four-star linebacker Liona Lefau from Kahuku, HI. While Lefau currently holds 25 offers from some of the top programs in the nation, Utah's is one that he deeply values and has a high appreciation for, due to the fact that they were his first offer and expressed interest in him before he was even a sophomore in high school.
"Utah's has felt the most real because they were my first offer. It always meant a lot to me because that's where I started. They were the first team to believe in me so it's always meant something to me. They offered me when I was going into my sophomore year, I was still a freshman," Lefau said.
In addition to their early belief in Lefau, Utah's recent success and vision for the future also impressed to the soon-to-be senior. Obviously, the Pac-12 trophy helps paint a picture of what Utah is capable of, but how're looking to build off that is also intriguing highly talented recruits like Lefau.
"Them winning the Pac-12, it was really cool, especially for me because I have been considering them. It shows that they're not gonna settle for just making it to the championship. They're trying to get better each year. When I was there, their main focus was repeating or even competing in the College Football Playoff. I really like how they're doing things and not being complacent," Lefau exlained.
To no surprise, as one of the best linebackers in the nation, he's taken notice of one of the best college defenses in the nation. On top of the way that they play, Lefau was also impressed with their recent success in terms of developing NFL talent. Just as other recruits have mentioned, Devin Lloyd's story is showing what Utah is capable of, no matter who you are or where you come from.
"Utah is a big defensive school," Lefau said. "When I look at it, Utah is a big defensive school producing NFL talent throughout the years and they're actually taking smaller recruits and turning them into NFL prospects. Something I like to see is player development, that's always been a big thing for me. I really like how they're developing their players, especially on defense."
"[Devin Lloyd] shows that its possible for me to make it from where I am at. I know that they have the right tools to get me to where I want to be in the NFL," He added.
As for his own potential development, Utah also shared their vision for him and the path is clear. The Utes believe that Lefau is a future NFL linebacker and that they can turn him into a first-round pick.
"Basically they want to use me as a middle linebacker because they like how I can move sideline to sideline and cover. They want to develop me into a first-round draft pick like how they did with Devin Lloyd," Lefau explained.
While Utah is not the program for everyone, Lefau understands that for those who buy in an embrace their philosophies, anything is possible. As for when the No. 16 ranked linebacker from the class of 2023 plans to announce where he'll be committing, Lefau is aiming for July or August.
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