Fotu T. Leiato II’s wild recruiting ride came to an end.
The Steilacoom High School senior, whose highlight video with almost 500,000 views has been watched more times on Hudl than any other video, committed to the University of Oregon on Sunday. The former zero-star recruit who had no scholarship offers last spring had about 30 family members with him when he stood up and announced his decision, said Sentinels coach William Garrow.
“Each of the schools I considered had great things, but Oregon felt like the right place for me,” Leiato wrote in a post on the Steilacoom football Twitter feed.
Oregon was the last of 15 schools to offer Leiato a scholarship, which the News Tribune All-Area linebacker and Northwest Nuggets selection received Jan. 16.
But Garrow said the Ducks, which lost in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship game to Ohio State, had been recruiting Leiato since early December.
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich met with Leiato on Sunday. Helfrich brought defensive coordinator Don Pellum, offensive coordinator Scott Frost and outside linebackers coach Erik Chinander.
“They do a tremendous job of taking an athlete and molding what they do around the skills that an athlete has,” Garrow said. “Fotu plays fast and he plays physical and they play fast and they play physical. I think it was a good fit athletically.”
Leiato, listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, could also play safety. His first scholarship offer was from Central Washington University on Aug. 6
“(The Oregon coaches) talked about the first time they watched his highlight video. They said typically they watch a highlight video and it will be relatively silent because they are trying to get an idea of what they are looking at on film,” Garrow said. “They watched Fotu’s and it was a much louder, energetic meeting. Guys were hootin’ and hollerin’.”