Jared Afalava is a 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pound linebacker recruit from Bingham High School. He’s being looked at to play either inside or outside linebacker currently, and is receiving a lot of in-state attention.
As recently as last week, coaches from both BYU and from Utah were at his school.
“Coach Doman from BYU came down here last week to see me and it was great,” Afalava said. “I really like Coach Doman. Coach Sitake and Coach Hill from Utah were here as well and I’ve had a lot of talks with them and I really like them as coaches. Coach Sitake would be a great coach to play for.”
Afalava will have a chance to play for Utah if that’s the school he elects to sign with. After BYU offered him about a year ago, the Utes matched that offer just weeks later.
Since that time, he’s become impressed with Utah’s program, having attended some of their spring practices. He’s also had conversations with good friend Harvey Langi, who signed with Utah this past year and just finished up participating in their spring practices.
“I’m very tight with Harvey and he loves it up there,” said Afalava. “I like how Utah is close to home and they have a lot of good Polynesians there that I’m tight with. It’s important for me to play for a school that has a good Polynesian community. I like that about Utah.”
Afalava is also impressed with Utah’s Pac-12 affiliation.
“I want to play in the PAC-12,” he said. “It’s important and a big thing for me to have the opportunity to play in a conference like the PAC-12, so that’s something I really like about Utah.”
While his desire to play in the PAC-12 may seemingly tip the scales in Utah’s favor, Afalava denies that Utah or any other school has an edge.
“I’m wide open right now,” he explained. “I want to see what offers I get, visit all the schools that have offered me, take closer looks at them and then make my decision. I have a long way to go.”
Afalava has made his share of visits to BYU as well, and likes a lot of the unique aspects that surrounds BYU’s program.
“I’m a strong Mormon kid and my faith is very important to me, so I really like that BYU is a Mormon school with high ideals and a good environment,” he said. “They also have a good Polynesian community down there like Utah does. I’m very good friends with Manoa [Pikula], Baker [Pritchard], Mo [Moses Kaumatule] and Kesni [Tausinga]. They all are real excited to go to BYU and they want me to go down there with them, obviously.”
His ties to BYU don’t end with all of his teammates joining the football program, as he also has a sister that attends BYU.
“Family and being close to family is important to me, so I really like that I’ll be able to attend school with my sister.”
Just recently, Afalava received his third offer – from Washington – and is interested to learn more about the Huskies.
“I hardly know anything about them right now,” he explained. “Their coaches told me that they have a strong Polynesian community up there, so I’m interested to learn more about them hopefully this summer.”
Afalava plans to attend both BYU’s and Utah’s camps this summer and is definitely going to participate in BYU’s upcoming Junior Day on June 3. Beyond that, he’s unsure of what camps he’ll be able to attend due to financial constraints.
He hasn’t set any timetable on when he wants to make his commitment, but wants to be careful with his decision.
“I’m wide open right now, so I really don’t know when I’m going to decide. I want to see what offers I get over the summer and then learn more about each school before deciding.”
Along with the three schools that have offered him, Afalava is also hearing from such programs as Colorado, UCLA and Oregon State primarily. Other schools are sending him letters, but those three are the schools he’s hearing from the most in addition to Washington, BYU and Utah.
“I get letters all the time,” he said.
What he does know is that he wants a school that is a top Division I program, along with a school that has a good family environment and good academics. Although he is LDS, he doesn’t have definite plans to serve a mission currently.
TBS will follow Afalava and his recruitment consistently, as he looks to be one of the top in-state recruits for 2012.