Two weekends ago, after a “great” visit to Stillwater, Ofa Hautau was ready to commit to Oklahoma State.
He loved the facilities, loved the system and loved the coaches. It was where the big defensive tackle from Utah wanted to be.
And the feeling was mutual.
But as Wednesday's Signing Day approached, which saw coach Mike Gundy announce Hautau's name among OSU's 23-player recruiting class, his now-solidified college future remained in question.
That's because, as many can attest, family matters have a way of complicating an issue.
“My family wanted me to stay somewhere around (Utah),” Hautau said by phone Wednesday. “Somewhere in-state.”
Hautau has always been close with his family. He has a sister, four brothers, a pair of loving parents and plenty of other relatives around his small community in Utah.
And many would attend his games the last couple years. Hautau starred at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, anchoring a defensive front that included his brother Siali.
They'd watch the powerful duo dominate during games and then meet with them afterward.
So when Hautau initially came with the news, that he wanted to got to a college three states and 16 hours away, it was tough to handle.
But through conversation and time, they came to accept it.
“I was talking to them for a while,” Hautau said. “And eventually they told me to do what I felt like I should do.”
Good news for Hautau. Better news for the Cowboys.
With the family's blessing, OSU secured its third defensive tackle of the 2013 class, but maybe the one who's most suited to make an immediate impact.
Hautau was a 6-foot-1, 290-pound junior college brick wall.
“He's kind of a quiet, humble kid,” Snow College coach Scott Larsen said. “But the first thing you'll see on the football field is violence. He's so strong, rag-dolls people around. He'll stand out, with his hair waving out of his helmet and blowing up plays inside, making people say, ‘Who is that guy?'”
Gundy echoed that positive sentiment, seeming a bit relieved OSU was able to pry Hautau from his home state for a stint in Stillwater.
“When he visited here a couple weeks ago, he was convinced this was the school for him,” Gundy remembered. “It was just the matter of him breaking away for a couple of years from home. But he's a very physical, strong body to put inside. Has really good lateral movement and his motor runs well. Great personality. Will bring a lot to our team.”