Fotu's Focus on Four

Laney JC defensive lineman and brother of current Illini has four schools in his crosshairs. He was on hand for Illinois' season opener to check out campus and watch his brother's D1 debut.

Sometimes football just runs in the family. That's definitely the case for Laney Junior College DL Anthony Fotu. The younger brother of Illinois DL Joe Fotu is the more highly-rated of the two as prospects, but being able to see his older brother take the field and get a lot of snaps in his first game at Illinois was extremely exciting for Anthony.

"It's a blessing, big time," he said. "I don't know what to even say. That's how happy I am."

Fotu's recruitment is rounding the corner into the final stretch very soon. With lots of attention coming his way and offers from big schools from coast to coast, Fotu is doing his best to handle the process.

"It's pretty stressing," he said. "All these colleges really want you and at the end of the day you have to pick one school. It's pretty hard."

Fotu is mainly focusing on four schools, two on the west coast, one in the Midwest, and one in the Southeast. Miami has been a favorite according to several accounts in the past, but with official visits coming up, it may be anyone's game.

"Right now Illinois, Miami, and Oregon are recruiting me hard," he said. "USC offered recently too."

The USC offer was a big milestone for Fotu, who grew up during the golden era of Trojan Football out on the west coast.

"To be honest, I always wanted to go to USC. USC was my top school (growing up)," he said. "I don't know what to say, it was a dream come true."

Fotu isn't putting together a detailed rubric of criteria he will use to choose a school, but rather it will be a "feel thing" when he goes to make a pick.

"Really I don't know. It'll be a feel thing," Fotu said, "That and I want to hopefully get a lot of playing time."

Illinois got a head start on building a relationship with the whole Fotu family when they began the recruitment of older brother Joe. But the staff continues to make Anthony a priority defensive recruit and stay in frequent contact with the 4-star prospect.

"The coaches at Illinois show me a lot of love," he said. "Coach Beckman and Coach Colby talk to me and email me a lot. Coach Colby is a funny guy."

One of the more important recruiters in the picture will be his older brother Joe. But with both having busy schedules, they haven't been in frequent contact lately. When they do talk, Joe has been positive about his experiences at Illinois and sells his younger brother on the program.

"I haven't had too much time to talk to Joe one on one, but he says he loves the college life out here," Fotu said. "The main thing is school and football."

Fotu has thought about the possibility of playing with his brother in college. He admitted it would be an exciting feeling lining up next to Joe.

"It would be crazy if we do play together and if I did come here," he said, "I'd be too happy. It would be crazy to both go at it together."

Anthony, like his brother, is also a skilled rugby player. Both Fotus were sporting jerseys for the All Blacks (see photo), the famous New Zealand national rugby team known for the pre-game Haka dance, on Saturday following the game (so no surprise that Fotu has the Haka figured out). Anthony says his rugby playing has improved his toughness on the football field.

"In practice, I don't wear thigh pads or knee pads," he said. "Rugby really helps me out in football. It toughened my brother and I up a lot."

With his school list narrowed, Fotu has official visits to four schools in mind, and a December graduation and early enrollment mean that a decision isn't going to be too far off.

"Hopefully I'll be taking visits to Illinois, Miami, Oregon, and USC," he said. "I'm not real sure if anyone else will get a visit right now. I'll be leaving my junior college this December, so I'll be signing early."

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