Poutasi, Fanaika going separate ways

ARLINGTON, Texas – Call it cousins having a good time. Better yet, call it two three-star athletes choosing their own separate paths.

Offensive tackle Cedrick Poutasi (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) and offensive guard Brandon Fanaika (Pleasant Grove, Utah/Pleasant Grove) had many believing they would announce their commitment to the same school during the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl on Thursday night. Utah was the speculated choice for the three-star offensive linemen and close cousins, and while Poutasi chose the Utes, Fanaika went a different route.

“I’m going to Stanford University,” Fanaika said as his announcement was shown on the larger-than-jumbo screen at Cowboys Stadium.

When the bowl game concluded, the cousins were all smiles. In addition to helping the West team defeat the East, 21-14, Poutasi and Fanaika were enjoying the fact that they made their verbal commitments -- and they did it their own ways.

“We just wanted to mess with everyone a little bit and kind of have some fun with it,” said Fanaika, who chose Stanford over Utah, BYU and Auburn.

Poutasi added: “I would have loved for us to go to the same college, but at the end of the day, it’s wherever we’re both happy at. I’ll be at Utah, and I’m pretty solid on my commitment, but I’m happy [Fanaika] will be at Stanford. They have a great education there.”

Poutasi, a 6-foot-5, 325-pound tackle, chose Utah over Oregon and Oklahoma State. Recruited by cornerbacks coach Jay Hill, Poutasi visited Utah in October and felt a connection with the program, led by head coach Kyle Whittingham.

“When I went out there, I thought the environment was good for me,” Poutasi said. “I had a great bond with the coaches and players. I really like Kyle Whittingham, and Jay Hill is a great recruiting coach. Plus, I have a great chance of starting early out there.”

Fanaika, a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard, was recruited to Stanford by outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson. Fanaika said on Wednesday that the school he chose on Thursday would have a strong academic resume to go along with a respectable football program.

“It was mainly the education for me. You can’t pass up an education like that,” Fanaika said of Stanford. “When I got the chance and thought about it, I knew it was the place for me. It has everything to offer. I just couldn’t pass it up.”

Both players had offers from UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and Utah State. Poutasi additionally entertained offers from Boise State, Oregon State, Vanderbilt and SMU.