Mason Tufaga committed to Utah on Friday, spurning 16 other schools.
Tufaga announced his decision via video on social media. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior linebacker from Saint Louis appeared to lean on the Utes during the recruiting process. Tufaga plans to graduate early and enroll in Salt Lake City for spring semester. Earlier this year, Saint Louis linebackers Jordan Botelho and Nick Herbig also graduated early and went to Notre Dame and Wisconsin, respectively.
“Terrific, he committed to Utah. His father (Crusaders assistant coach Wes) graduated from Utah,” Saint Louis coach Ron Lee said. “That’s when my brother (Tommy was there). He was the OC and recruited Wes years ago. We’ve always had a good contact with (Ron) McBride, (Kyle) Whittingham. They’ve been there a long time. I’m happy for Mason.”
Tufaga’s other offers: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Duke, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State, San Diego State, South Carolina, UNLV, USC, Utah, Utah State, Washington State.
“His plan for early graduation, our philosophy is we try to get these guys ready after graduation for their next journey. Any time they can get there, that’s quite a tribute to them. The guys who went early, Tua (Tagovailoa), Matt (Sykes), Nick and Botelho, now Mason, that’s something. That’s what we strive for, to get these guys that kind of opportunity and move on. That’s really something special that these kids are doing so well academically that they are getting admitted into college early.”
Four-time defending Open Division state champion Saint Louis lost a huge amount of talent on defense to graduation. Opportunities are there for new starters.
“I hate losing Mason. I wish he played (in the spring) for us. He was going to be our leader. Losing him is a tremendous loss, but that’s not why we work with these young men. Guys like Tua, who’s already in the NFL, that’s quite an accomplishment. It really works,” Lee added. “We had almost 20 sophomores last year. We’ve got guys that will step up.”