Friday, May 10, 2013
One conference in front for ESPN 150 OG
By Erik McKinney
ESPN 150 offensive guard Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) established himself as a 2014 prospect to watch a year ago when he dominated the 2012 Los Angeles Nike Football Training Camp and took home position MVP honors.
Talamaivao performed well again earlier this spring and earned an invitation to The Opening this summer. Recruiting hasn't stopped since that initial breakout performance, but after spending the past few weeks in a boot, Talamaivao is glad to change things up a bit by getting back on the field for spring ball.
Thursday night, Centennial had its spring showcase practice. More than 30 colleges were represented, including Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Washington. But Talamaivao was more focused on his teammates.
"It's been good," he said of the limited spring ball practices the Huskies have been through so far. "We're definitely trying to rebuild where we left off last year. It feels good to come out and practice. I've been in a boot for what seems like forever. We have a squad this year."
A big part of turning that potential into performance will rest on Talamaivao's shoulders. Naturally soft-spoken, he was terrific last season as a linemate with Cameron Hunt, who signed with Oregon in the 2013 class. Now, Talamaivao will be looked at to lead the line at Centennial, and he's still wrestling with what that means.
ESPN 150 offensive guard Viane Talamaivao is still very much open in his recruitment, but the SEC is standing out.
"My kind of personality is that I'll just go out there and do my job," he said. "I'm not really a vocal type of guy. But my coaches and my parents have talked to me and said I'm pretty much the guy this year on the line. It's up to me to raise the bar for everybody else. So that's what I'm trying to do. They're young guys and we pretty much have no experience, but I have faith in my group. I think we're going to be all right."
Recruiting continues to progress for the 6-foot-2, 316-pound Talamaivao, the nation's No. 121 overall player and No. 7 offensive guard in the 2014 class.
"I'm handling it day by day and recruiting has taken off for me, so I'm thankful for that," he said. "But as far as how crazy it's getting, it's going pretty crazy."
Talamaivao said the most difficult thing has been reporters. He noted it can be frustrating to give an interview about a particular school where he says he loves that program -- he speaks highly of every college recruiting him -- only to see several hours later that there is talk about how he is going to commit to said program.
"It's like, what?" he said. "You asked me and I said, 'Yes. I like the program.' But everyone is sticking out in my head at this point."
The one concession Talamaivao did make is that he is looking strongly at the SEC, where he holds offers from Alabama and Mississippi. This summer, the big lineman would like to take as many unofficial visits as possible, listing destinations such as Florida State and Wisconsin.
"I would love to go see all the schools," he said. "Pretty much any school far away from home, I'd love to go see."
Though no trips are scheduled at this point, it looks as though Talamaivao will push hard to make a trip that includes Alabama and Mississippi. And he likely won't be alone.
"I'm planning to go with Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc)," Talamaivao said. "We all want to go see those schools. I think we'll do some fundraising stuff for that and hopefully we can make it happen. If not, I'll have to wait for an official visit."
Though he mentioned official visits, there really is no set timeline for Talamaivao in terms of recruiting. He continues to mention a possible signing day decision, but only to give himself room to use as much time as possible. Really, a decision could come at any moment, though he does want to see the schools first-hand.
"I don't know about a date at this point," he said. "I think I'm going to wait until signing day, but honestly, it's when I feel it. I could feel like there's a school I want to go to tomorrow. It all depends on how I feel and what I feel is the best fit for me, then I'll go for it, whether that's in a week's time or 18 weeks' time."