Rebelations: Hawaii stars visit UNLV

Rebelations: Hawaii stars visit UNLV

The UNLV coaching staff is working hard to overcome some on-field disappointments by signing another solid recruiting class. As of today, UNLV has commitments from no fewer than 12 high school football players, many of whom committed fairly early in the process.

Last weekend, the Rebels received official visits from 10 high school football players. While four of those young visitors had already verbally committed to UNLV, the Rebels hosted six other players who are on the Rebels high-priority list for the 2008 recruiting class.

This week I caught up with two of those players, safety Shiloah Te'o and offensive lineman Anthony Siilata from Kahuku High in Kahuku, Hawaii, in an effort to see how their visits to the UNLV campus went.

The first of those players we contacted was Shiloah Te'o who is rated as the No. 53 safety in the country by Scout.com.

Te'o, who committed to BYU very early in the process and also sports other big-time offers, was very impressed by his visit to Las Vegas, according to his mother.

"He really liked it a lot," his mother told me. "In fact, I think he went to Las Vegas not sure how much he would like it but they (the coaches) really did a number on him. He was very impressed with the facilities and academic support. I also know he liked how strong the Polynesian community is in Las Vegas. He kind of thought it was a little piece of home that far away."

Did the visit to UNLV give the 6-0 200 pound Shiloah any thoughts about de-committing from BYU in order to attend UNLV?

‘I think he is still committed to BYU but he has a visit to BYU on Jan. 11 and we will know more about his status after that visit. He will probably compare the visits and decide where he wants to go."

There is one other factor which helps the Rebels' cause in landing the athletic player.

"Not only does he have uncles who live in Las Vegas but he also has a cousin who signed with UNLV last year (RB Malosi Te'o from Kahuku) who is on an LDS mission but will be attending UNLV when he comes home. He is the one who helped convince Shiloah to take this visit. He told him he would really like UNLV and he did. This could get interesting after his visit to BYU."

I also had a chance to speak to Te'o's mammoth teammate, offensive lineman Anthony Siilata. The 6-2 315 pound Siilata is described as a freak-athlete for a man his size. He also plays basketball and rugby.

What were Siilata's impressions of UNLV?

"I really liked it a lot," Siilata said. "It was great because they put education first but they also have a family thing going out there. It was kind of a togetherness."

What other schools are in the mix for Siilata?

"I also have offers from Utah and Oregon State. I will be visiting those schools in January and then I will make my decision."

Are all of the schools recruiting the big man to play the same position?

"No, OSU wants me on the D-line and UNLV wants me on the O-line while Utah says I could play either. I would prefer to play with the big uglies on the O-line, if possible."

Have the two prep teammates talked about playing together in college?

"Yes, we have talked about it but we will have to see if it can be worked out. It is definitely something we would like to do."

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