L.T. Filiaga

SOUTH JORDAN — As one of the state's most sought-after prep athletes, thinking, hearing and talking about the recruiting process can sometimes turn into a grind for Bingham senior L.T. Filiaga.

But whenever that happens, it doesn't take long for the 6-foot-1, 235-pound linebacker to step back and realize how thankful he is to be receiving the attention.

"Sometimes you'll get tired of it, but in a way you still like it, because for me it motivates me to keep going," Filiaga said. "It makes me know I'm on the right track for where I want to go."

Following what he hopes will be a stellar senior season at Bingham High, Filiaga knows what he wants to do — play college football — but where he'll go to do that remains an unknown.

He has scholarship offers from BYU, Utah, Stanford, Arizona, UNLV and Washington, and defending national champion LSU recently started showing interest.

However, Filiaga says he won't make a decision on his future until after he takes his recruiting trips following his senior season, and for now, he's just concentrating on trying to make sure he has the type of season that he enjoyed one year ago.

Filiaga showed up at Bingham High just weeks before last season, and coach Dave Peck and his staff have been reaping the benefits of his presence ever since.

Filiaga, who carries a 3.8 GPA, started for Orem's varsity team as a sophomore before leaving, at the behest of his father, for Hawaii the following spring.

His dad wanted to him experience life on the islands, but after participating in spring ball at Kahuku High, he moved back to Utah. And after his family moved north because of a job opportunity that his mother, Tiana, received, Filiaga landed at Bingham. Peck said he hadn't heard of Filiaga before he showed up in his office last summer, but it didn't take him long to figure out what he had on his hands.

"First couple games of the year he was in a rotation with some of the other kids," said Peck, "but by the end of the year he didn't come out much."

Since then, Filiaga, whom Peck describes as the best linebacker in the state, has drawn considerable interest from collegiate programs around the country.

Filiaga is the latest in a long line of Bingham players to be heavily recruited. How does Peck counsel his guys about being recruited, both the high-profile ones like Filiaga and the lesser-known ones?

"I tell all of our kids that are being recruited, 'Anybody you talk to — I don't care if it's a junior college, Snow College or whoever — if a coach calls and shows interest, you let them all know if you haven't made a decision that you appreciate it,'" Peck said. "We're kind and considerate to everybody that walks through our doors because we don't want to burn any bridges with anybody.

"And like I tell them," Peck added, "'If you're gonna make a commitment before your senior year, be sure that's where you want to go,' because I don't want to get caught up in our kids getting early offers and committing, and then pulling out of those commitments. To me, you're only as good as your word."

That advice has been apt for Filiaga, who said he won't commit until late December or early January.

Whether he gets any additional offers also remains to be seen. According to Filiaga, LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton recently called and has started to recruit the Bingham star as a fullback.

Asked whether BYU was his favorite right now, Filiaga responded, "They're a really good program, and I'm liking them a lot, but I can't say they're my favorite because it's kind of hard to compare what they've got compared to other colleges because they do other things. I really like BYU, but they're not my favorite. But I really like them."

Filiaga said there isn't a favorite right now.

"The colleges that have offered me are showing me a lot of respect and (are) honoring me, and I'm really humble to accept that," he said. "So I can't choose one over the other (right now) because they're doing all the same thing for me."


E-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com