EULESS, Texas — Utah football has grown accustomed to attracting top defensive line talent, and it nabbed a commitment from a star defensive lineman over the weekend.
Sam Tevi from Trinity High School (Euless, Texas) committed to the Utes, giving them up to six commits this year.
Tevi is a 6-foot-6, 273-pound defensive end prospect who held offers from Texas Tech, Washington, Arkansas, BYU, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah State, Purdue, Syracuse and Houston.
Although he held multiple offers, two schools held his interest above all others — Utah and BYU.
“Growing up they were my two favorite schools and the schools I always wanted to play for,” said Tevi. “I think I liked Utah a bit more, but BYU has always been one of my favorites.”
Both schools recruited Tevi early, but Utah was the first to offer. Ute assistant Morgan Scalley made the first contact and was in constant touch with him throughout the process.
“He did great keeping touch on Facebook and I could tell early on that Utah really cared about me and really wanted me,” said Tevi. “I wanted to make sure though and took an unofficial visit up there before committing. I knew I'd probably end up committing before I visited though.”
Tevi took the opportunity to make unofficial visits to both Utah and then to BYU after participating in the All-Poly camp, held in Bountiful, in mid-June. While visiting Utah, he was struck at how quickly he made friends and felt right at home.
“I was watching one of their workouts and coaches weren’t there telling them to do anything, but almost everyone on the team stopped and shook my hand and wanted to get to know me,” said Tevi. “That was so impressive to me and I immediately felt that I was home.”
Tevi forged fast friendships with such players as Star Lotulelei, along with former Euless Trinity players LT Tuipulotu and Hiva Lutui.
During his visit, Tevi was also able to meet with Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham.
“I was nervous — like really nervous, when I met with coach Whittingham,” said Tevi. “It didn’t take long until I seriously felt like he was like my own father. I was so comfortable with him and pretty much made up my mind after that meeting that I needed to go to Utah.”
Tevi next visited BYU, and although he enjoyed his visit, he left without the same feeling of camaraderie he had while at Utah. “BYU was great and I really respect the program and the coaches there — it wasn’t the same as Utah,” he said.
Tevi went home to mull over his decision with his parents — ultimately choosing Utah where he’ll try and add to its great defensive-line tradition. Tevi is aware of Utah’s success in developing top DL prospects before sending them off to the NFL and cited it as a reason for his commit.
It wasn’t the biggest reason, however.
“Utah just feels like home to me,” said Tevi. “There are so many reasons why Utah is the right school for me, but it’s the feeling I get while I’m there — more than anything else. That’s why I know Utah is where I need to be.”
Tevi is LDS and has plans to serve a mission after playing a year. He’s on track to graduate early and join the Ute program in January.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company