Watch List DT Ainuu Taua likes UCLA 

November, 7, 2012
California hasn't produced an abundance of highly recruited defensive tackles in recent years, but in each of the past two seasons -- Ellis McCarthy in the 2012 class and Eddie Vanderdoes this year -- one defensive big man has become a national talent. In the 2013 class, the state could boast another highly recruited defensive tackle in ESPN Watch List prospect Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc).

The 6-foot-0, 279-pound tackle already holds offers from Arizona, Hawaii, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt and Washington, and said coaches from Michigan and Tennessee have expressed interest. The talented recruit helped the Braves to a 10-0 record in the regular season while pitching in on both sides of the ball. He registered 37 tackles, five sacks, an interception and a forced fumble defensively. He also rushed for a 5-yard touchdown and caught 4 passes for 55 yards and two more scores.

But while Taua is poised to become one of the state's highest profile recruits in the upcoming recruiting class, that wasn't always a sure thing. In fact, the coaches at Lompoc and the college Taua eventually enrolls in should count themselves lucky that Taua is still playing football. It didn't seem as though that would be the case several years ago.