With the end of spring practice drawing near, the Arizona Wildcats will turn their focus solely to the recruiting trail.
With new head coach Kevin Sumlin and his brand new staff, this recruiting class already feels different then UA’s strategy under Rich Rodriguez. Besides Arizona aggressively pursuing highly-ranked prospects, they are also aggressively recruiting a community who didn’t receive much attention from the previous staff.
With new defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei and defensive assistant Davy Gnodle, the ‘Cats are attacking the Polynesian recruiting trail, hoping to re-establish the Poly Pipeline that was prevalent in the Dick Tomey-era.
One such recruit on UA’s radar is outside linebacker Jaden Tauanu’u. The 3-star Pittsburg Senior High School (Pittsburg, CA) standout likes the idea of re-establishing that pipeline.
“I’m just beyond blessed to be a part of something like this,” Tauanu’u said. “And it means a lot to me to be a part of this tradition.”
And there’s no doubt about it, Tucson does have a storied history of successful Polynesian football players.
As of now, Tauanu’u has three offers, with Utah State and San Jose State joining the Wildcats on his list. He is also hearing from Washington State, Arizona State, Oregon State and Nevada and thinks they could be close to offering. But the recruiting process isn’t the first thing on his mind.
Prayer Patience and Progress‼️I would like to Thank God for everything he has done for me I'm honored and blessed To receive a offer from the UofA #BearDown #PittsburgPirates #Malufitness #MLU7on7 #LevelUp #Teampala #GodsPlan #ArizonaWildcats #PAC-12 pic.twitter.com/pdytCsErKJ— Jaden Tauanu'u (@JadenTauanuu7) February 27, 2018
“As of right now, I’ve been focusing on school and getting faster, better, and stronger,” Tauanu’u explained of his offseason goals.
Tauanu’u hasn’t taken any visits yet, “but I would like to go visit all of them soon,” he said.
When it comes to his communication with Arizona, the ‘Cats have been recruiting him the most.
“I’ve been talking to Arizona more than the other two schools (Utah State and San Jose State),” Tauanu’u explained. “I’ve been talking with coach Iona, he is the one who offered me, and coach Davy.”
UA is recruiting Tauanu’u as a edge rusher, known as the Stud position, and at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, that’ll be a good spot for him. And there are aspects of his game the Arizona coaches love.
“They like how I’m good with my feet and how I’m quick off the ball,” Tauanu’u said.
Tauanu’u is a physical player with pretty solid footwork. He gets a great jump off of the ball and has good vision of the ball carrier. Of note, he also plays tight end for the Pirates and is a pretty good one at that.
When it comes to a major, Tauanu’u is looking at the mental health field.
Below are his junior season highlights.