January 2, 2011

Moala will commit, but still visit

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SAN ANTONIO - Sacramento (Calif.) Grant four-star defensive tackle Viliami Moala is ready to make his college decision live on national television Saturday, but his announcement will not end his recruitment. Moala, who has officially visited Washington and USC, is ready to test the boundaries of a verbal commitment.

"After the game, I'm going to still officially visit Oregon and Oregon State," said Moala. "Even if I commit, it's a verbal commitment. I will announce where I'm strongly considering, but if anything changes, I still have signing day. It's not over until I sign."

As of Sunday night, Moala had a definitive top five.

"No. 1 would be Cal, No. 2 would be Oregon State, then Oregon, Washington and USC," said Moala. "That's my top five, and the five schools I feel comfortable with."

Inundated with in-home visits over the past month, Moala admits the recruiting process has been a slow grind.

"It's hard because the coaches all sound the same," said Moala. "They offer the same things and want to take care of you the same way. It's like ... dang! You really don't know who to trust."

California sits atop his list of favorite schools for one main reason.

"They're closest to home," said Moala. "My mom can't really make it to my games if I go much farther than that. Family is really important to me, because without family, you have nothing. I need my family to support me. Without that, it would really hurt me."

Another factor that appeared to play a significant factor in his recruitment were his Grant Pacer teammates; James Sample, Puka Lopa, Darryl Paulo. In November, Moala listed Oregon State as his favorite school because the Beavers were the only football program to offer all four Grant prospects a scholarship.

"I look at my teammates like family, but my real family is more important," said Moala. "Talking with James and Puka, it sounds like we're going different ways. I feel like Cal is best for me, and they have to do what is best for them."

It appears that Moala is Cal's commitment to lose. The only hypothetical factor that could derail Moala's signature with Cal on Feb. 2 would be if the Bears lose defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to another program.

"Lupoi is a really good friend," said Moala. "My cousin is also the strength and conditioning coach at Cal. He talks highly of Coach Lupoi, and if he was to leave, that would really hurt. I would have nothing to work with. That would be a big deal."

While Lupoi's name continues to pop up on coaching hot boards around the country, it will take more that rumors to sway Moala from Berkeley.

"I think I'll decide this weekend," said Moala. "My parents are talking among themselves about what is best for me and what is best for them. We haven't decided yet, but I think I'll be ready by this weekend."



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