Brandon Fanaika is a 6-foot-3-inch, 295-pound offensive line recruit from Pleasant Grove, Utah. As he nears his senior season, he’s been piling up the offers – eight in all so far.
Utah State, Utah, BYU, UCLA, Washington, Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State have all extended him offers to join their programs. It’s a lot to sift through, and he began sifting through at least one school last week.
Fanaika recently attended the elite B2G camp held at UCLA. It’s an all-expense paid camp that includes some top instruction while only inviting the very elite athletes from across the country.
“It was awesome,” said Fanaika about his experience. “I could feel myself get better every day. I went up against some of the top guys in the country, and that was obviously a great experience for me.”
So, how did he do?
“I feel that I did very well, and coaches there told me that I was the best offensive linemen at the camp,” he said. “I don’t remember getting beat even once during one-on-one drills, and I think I was the only kid from Utah there, so I think I represented the state well, which is important to me.”
While at the camp he took some time to visit UCLA, which is his latest offer, and USC, which has shown some recent interest.
“I have some family there,” he said. “[UCLA commit] Sam Tai is my cousin, and he loves it there, so I definitely like having the option to play with him.”
He’s also well aware of another Utah prep phenom that is set to rejoin the Bruin program here very soon.
“I definitely know all about Xavier Su’a-filo,” he said. “I remember when he was playing here in Utah, and he was awesome. I know that he’s loved it there, so I really want to get together with him and see more about what it’s like to play for UCLA.”
Like Su’a-filo, Fanaika has definite plans to serve a mission. When he takes his official trip to UCLA, he’ll be able to pick Su’a-filo’s brain some more about what it’s like being there as a returned missionary.
“I’m definitely looking forward to that,” he said. “I was interested in UCLA before, but after visiting them and seeing them up close, I’m very interested.”
Part of the reason why he grew to like UCLA so much during his visit was the Southern California environment.
“You’re right there, next to Hollywood, Bel Air and all those places and the weather is great,” he said. “It doesn’t get too hot like it does here in Utah during the summer, so that’s definitely nice. I also really like the campus, and all the people there. The coaches, they’re great, and I just really had a good feeling there when I was being shown everything.”
While he took a brief look at USC, he’s been able to spend much more time at UCLA. “USC hasn’t offered yet, and I’d definitely like to look at them closer when I get the chance.”
So far, Fanaika has been able to visit five of the 8 schools that have offered him, having taken unofficial visits to Utah State, Utah, BYU, Stanford, and now to UCLA. Prior to his visit to UCLA, his most recent trip was to BYU’s Junior Day, when he received an offer from the Cougar coaches.
“I love BYU,” he said. “I’ve always loved their program, and I was so excited to get offered by them. Everyone was pushing me to commit, and I thought about it, I really did, but I then decided it was best to take all my visits, go on my trips and all that.”
While he previously aimed to decide on where to commit before the season, he now aims to take all five of his official trips before making his final decision.
“It’s a huge decision for me,” he said. “I don’t really have a favorite or even a top three or anything like that yet. I’ll decide on a top three or a top five here soon and then take official visits to all the top schools that I’m considering. I definitely want to go to UCLA for one of those visits, but I can’t tell you yet what other schools I’ll take officials to yet.”