Xavier Su’a-Filo (sort of) explains choosing UCLA

In today’s football notebook, Utah native Xavier Su’a-Filo talked about what it means to finally play in his home state as a collegiate athlete. A former state champion, his return will happen in the same place where he helped Timpview High to its third straight state title.

He also touched on his decision to leave the Beehive State for Los Angeles four years ago:

“I feel like the morning of signing day, UCLA felt like the right place for me. I couldn’t exactly explain to you why I felt that way. Even when my freshman year came, I was still a little curious why. I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

He didn’t waver after his mission ended. Su’a-Filo knew he was coming back to UCLA as long as the new coaching staff wanted him, and Jim Mora’s pitch only solidified that feeling. The first-time college coach admitted his inexperience, but stressed that he was building a capable staff and setting a high standard for the program.

“I liked his honesty,” Su’a-Filo said. “I liked how real he was.”

The All-American will line up against a number of close friends this Thursday, including linebacker LT Filiaga — his cousin — and tight end Jake Murphy. He insists there won’t be much trash talk in the week ahead.

“Nah, man,” he said. “I’ve got a mutual respect for a lot of those guys. Utah, they’re a tough program. Amongst me and my friends, we don’t do that. We just wish each other good luck and go to battle.”

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