Bingham lineman commits to Utes for 2008
Derek Tuimauga, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound offensive lineman from Bingham High School, plans to sign a letter of intent with the Utes in February.
"Utah was just basically the best fit for me," Tuimauga said. "I really love the program up there. The coaches are amazing, and I think it's just a perfect fit for me."
Though he also considered BYU, the senior-to-be said his final choices came down to Utah, Stanford and Washington. New Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh, in fact, recently visited Bingham and offered the lineman a scholarship on the spot.
Tuimauga, however, opted to stay close to home.
"I've always liked the Utes," he said. "I just weighed my options a lot this summer. I've thought hard about it and prayed hard about it. It came up the best fit for me was Utah, to be a Ute."
Tuimauga, who is just 16 years old, plans to serve an LDS Church mission after his freshman season at Utah — he turns 19 on Sept. 30, 2009.
"I just want to go and be the best player I can," said Tuimauga, a projected guard or tackle in college.
Bingham coach Dave Peck said the Utes are getting a good one. Tuimauga will be a four-year starter for the defending 5A state champions and was recently tabbed to be a senior captain, along with BYU recruit Austin Holt.
"I think Utah is getting a good player," Peck said. "We've had a couple of kids commit to BYU already, so I'm glad to see Derek go up to Utah so we can have some ties there."
Tuimauga, Peck continued, is young and strong. He can bench press 415 pounds and squat 500. His academics are strong, and he has served as a class officer.
"He's just a really good kid," Peck said. "I think Derek is going to be a great college player."