BATON ROUGE -- LSU learned it had a late addition to its 2012 recruiting class on Thursday night with the commitment of junior college offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika.
Fanaika pulled the trigger with the Tigers after a two-week waiting period following a visit to Baton Rouge. The 6-foot-6, 340-pound offensive guard didn't make himself available for comment, but Tim Tulloach, his recruiting coordinator at the College of San Mateo (Calif.), was able to shed some light on the big man's decision.
"He was split down the middle with Florida and LSU, as well as looking at Hawaii, but it really came down to Florida and LSU," Tulloch said. "He went away with his family and came back, and he just said LSU was the right fit."
Tulloch and Fanaika visited Baton Rouge together from March 2-4, and Tulloch said Fanaika came away impressed with the Tigers' operation, particularly offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. Fanaika was able to sit in on meetings with Studrawa and the offensive line during his visit, and it was one of a few things that left an impression.
"He felt good about the academic structure," Tulloch said. "He felt good about his position coach and his offensive coordinator and the role for him there. He felt really comfortable with what they were going to ask him to do, and he said it felt like the best place for him for the long run."
With schools like Florida and LSU to choose from, distance clearly didn't factor into Fanaika's decision. San Mateo is in northern California, which makes a trip to SEC country quite a hike. But Tulloch said other factors weighed far more heavily on Fanaika's mind than the trip.
"When I sat down and asked him what things were important to him, distance wasn't it," he said. "He said, 'I want the best support to earn my degree, where I know where I'm going to earn my bachelor's.' " And the other thing was to get to the NFL ... I think both of those schools provide the opportunity to do that, and he ended up pulling the trigger [with LSU]."
Tulloch said Fanaika is on pace to finish up at San Mateo this spring. Once that's finished, he plans to report to Baton Rouge for fall camp in August. Judging by his size, he will be hard to miss, even among the LSU's monstrous offensive linemen.