When Gus Lavaka walks into a room, people tend to notice him.
At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, the Kearns High School offensive lineman’s physically imposing stature commands respect wherever he goes. That same stature was recently on display for some national coaches and recruits as Lavaka visited summer college camps to help boost his recruiting résumé.
The Utah Elite Camp was up first for Lavaka as he got to work out for hometown coaches at the University of Utah. Then he headed down to Las Vegas and put on a great performance for scouts at the Vegas Badger 7-on-7 Camp. The Kearns senior continued his busy summer schedule by heading to Los Angeles for a one-day camp that UCLA held for prospects and recruits.
“It was hard and I got a lot of experience down there. There were a lot of good guys that I got to go up against,” said Lavaka. “I got a lot better at that camp because there were a lot of fast guys there. Utah has a lot of strong guys, but the UCLA camp had faster players. I’m just trying to get looked at, and hopefully some teams take a serious look at me.”
According to Lavaka’s coach, Bill Cosper, he already has an offer from Southern Utah. But Cosper expects offers from some bigger schools to come in during the fall. The Kearns left tackle is the anchor of his offensive line.
“We’re going to go as our offensive and defensive lines goes,” said Cosper. “And as a player Gus is probably the best high-school lineman that I’ve coached, and I’ve been coaching high-school football for the last 14 years. He has all the intangibles that you want like good size, aggressiveness, nastiness, and he’s very physical. I think his wrestling background helps him a lot, and he’ll probably be one of the best heavyweights in the state this year.”
While Lavaka’s name may not be a staple on recruiting sites like Rivals.com, Maxpreps.com and ESPN RISE, his attendance at national camps like the ones he visited will give him more visibility on a national scale because a large part of the high-school ranking system is based on reputation and observations.
Lavaka’s father, Gus Sr., believes his son has a pretty good chance of getting some offers from some major Division I schools. Believing that his son will eventually end up as a coach or in law enforcement, the elder Lavaka is proud of his son regardless of where he’s ranked — especially since he’s a few steps away from becoming an Eagle Scout, an honor that is held in high regard in the Lavaka household.
“He’s a quiet kid and it takes a lot to pry answers out of him, but he’s a good kid and does what me and his mother tell him to do and he doesn’t get into any trouble,” said Lavaka Sr. “I think he should take whichever opportunity is the best for him, but he’s a mama’s boy and he’ll probably do what his mother wants. She wants him close to her and most likely he will wind up staying in Utah.”
As for his senior season at Kearns, Lavaka will try to help the Cougars improve on their 7-4 record from last season as he hopes to increase his pancake total (57) from last year. Listing Weber State and Brigham Young University as possible dream destinations, Lavaka’s ultimate goal would be to attend UCLA. But there is a good possibility that he could please his mother and stay close to home.
“I’m either going to stay in Utah or try my best to go to UCLA.”