Sione Fua, the 6-2, 280 pound two-way lineman from Encino (Calif.) Crespi High will meet with his parents tonight to have a family council and solidify where he'll be going to school for the next four or five years.
Fua's father, George, told us Sunday night that the finalists are Oregon, Stanford and BYU.
"Sione grew up a BYU fan and Stanford has been in it for a long time because of their academic prestige, but Oregon has really come on strong," said the elder Fua. "Sione was surprised at how well his trip to Eugene went; Coach (Gary) Crowton took him to church and introduced him to the Bishop (church leader) there."
So does Sione have his choice finalized?
"I think he has a leader," said George Fua, "but all three are in it. All the coaches have been great and we're comfortable that he's going to make the right decision for himself. Sione has been praying and fasting, as we (his parents) have been also. We will talk about it tonight, hopefully have the answer finalized by tomorrow and he'll announce Wednesday on the Fox Sports Net Signing Show at 6:30 pm."
The athlete, who ran a 5.31 in the 40 at the Stanford NIKE Camp and visited the campuses of his thee finalists, was all set to visit USC last weekend but it became apparent that the Trojans wouldn't budge on their refusal to accommodate Fua's desire to go on an LDS Church mission.
"I'm proud of Sione," said his father, "not just because he stayed true to his values, but also because he had an important wrestling meet and wanted to support his team." Fua won his weight level, taking three matches, two on forfeits.
So where does each of the trio stack up in strengths? Here's the rundown in alphabetical order...
"BYU has the church affiliation and we know several of the recruits going there, including Matangi Tonga and Romney Fuga, who is a great wrestler and beat Sione last year when Sione had a bad shoulder. He's looking forward to a rematch this year! The chance to play right away is probably strongest at BYU."
"Stanford has the academics, obviously, but a fact people don't know is a Tongan has never been a student-athlete there and Sione could be the first. There are only 110,000 Tongans in the world so this would be significant. We also have ties to the Bay Area."
"Oregon's trip really wowed Sione as he saw first-hand how the school has been a top 10 program for several years and the combination of football, academics and religion are strong there. Sione wants to major in business and there's a lot to offer at Oregon. We're related to the (Haloti) Ngata family and know how an LDS athlete can go to Eugene and succeed."