If there was a grade for time management, that would probably be another A-plus for Faatui Tuitele.
The Saint Louis junior manages to post elite grades in the midst of training for football. Without athletics, the numbers are eye-popping: a 3.9 grade-point average for the fall semester, including a 4.2 in the latest quarter.
Combine that with his success as the nation’s No. 2-rated defense tackle, and the doors of opportunity keep opening. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound phenom has 32 scholarship offers. Tuitele is being proactive, planning on a slew of unofficial visits to some of the top programs in the nation.
Two trips will highlight his spring semester. During spring break March 12-17, Tuitele and his father, and possibly his mother, will travel to LSU, then Oklahoma. A third visit might fit into the time frame.
“We’ll see who else,” he said.
Shortly after that, he will make unofficial visits to Alabama and Ohio State in the span of two days: Apr. 5-6.
“My sister (Felicity) will be in a volleyball tournament,” Tuitele said. “So I’ll be on the road already. My parents are doing a lot of trips for us.”
The clamor for the talented playmaker has been growing on Twitter, but a tweet by former Saint Louis standout Tua Tagovailoa has expanded and exploded the attention level.
“A lot of (fans) are following me and asking me to come to ‘Bama, but it’s even more after Tua mentioned me. It was crazy, but they’ve got one of the best fan bases,” he said.
The two trips aren’t the only ones on Tuitele’s itinerary. On Wednesday, he flies to Las Vegas with the Hawaii 808 7v7 team coached by Vince Passas.
“I’m trying something new, playing tight end,” he said.
The 7v7 event allows pass rushing, and there are no pass protectors.
“It’s my first year doing this Pylon. It’s a new experience I wanted to try,” Tuitele said.
Former Saint Louis scholar-athlete Marcus Mariota had donated everything from sweats and jackets to uniforms and jumpsuits to his former quarterbacks coach’s squad, Tuitele added.
In May, he will be in Costa Mesa, Calif. to participate in Jesse Sapolu’s Super Linemen Camp.
As for Hawaii, Tuitele said he has occasional contact from assistant coaches Craig Stutzmann and Corey Batoon. Tuitele, who dreams of becoming a judge one day, is frank, yet perceptive about the environment for himself and all heavily recruited athletes in the islands.
“They pop in here and there and we talk. I honestly think they already think they’re out of the game with me. They really don’t show any interest anymore. I don’t know what’s their status or my status in their interest. The communication is really lost already,” he said. “But I understand. It gives them a chance to recruit other people. They can open themselves to other kids from Hawaii and give them a chance. That’s kind of how I see it, too. I hope they’re looking for better people.”