Watch List offensive guard Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) is becoming one of the more highly recruited big men in the West region for the 2014 class, and the UCLA Bruins made quite a statement in their recruitment of the 6-foot-2, 299-pound lineman this past Saturday.
"It was my first time at the Rose Bowl," Talamaivao said, adding that it was actually his first time at any college football game. "I enjoyed it. It was crazy. The atmosphere was crazy. I was excited for the whole trip, but I didn't realize how big the rivalry was. It was kind of rowdy, man. USC fans and UCLA fans were going at it."
The teams played through some significant rain at times, but Talamaivao said that only added to the atmosphere. As a lineman, he could appreciate the wet and muddy conditions.
Before the game he had an opportunity to speak with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, but Talamaivao didn't stay around after the game to meet with the staff or any of the players. He said, though, that Saturday's experience makes it far more likely he will do so in the future.
"The game made me realize I should have gone to all the other games," he said. "I definitely wish I went to more, but I will this coming year."
Scholarship offers for Talamaivao have come from Colorado, Ole Miss, UCLA and Washington. He said he looks forward to building a rapport with the Bruins staff, and can see a bright future in Westwood.
"I feel that win heightens my interest in UCLA," he said. "I already knew they were a great team at the beginning of the season, but it speaks volumes to the coaching over there, for Coach Mora and the staff to be able to turn the program around so quickly. It brings a sense of security when you think of UCLA, when you think about committing over there. Honestly, the win made it all that much better for me."
Talamaivao plans to take the recruiting process slowly and it would be something of a shock if more offers don't come in this offseason. But before then, he has a chance to extend his junior season, with a semifinal game Friday night.