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Chester Su'a of Kaimuki H.S. in Honolulu, Hawaii, was the fourth commit of the 2011 recruiting class. And in the time since his commitment on May 25, it's looking more and more like Su'a could be the steal of this class for the Cougs.
Like so many other Paul Wulff commitments, Su'a hadn't yet been evaluated by the recruiting services when he pledged Crimson and Gray. Usually, though, that means the guy is destined for a two- or three-star rating, because goodness knows four- and five-star recruits rarely fly that far under the radar. (Never mind the fact that four-star recruits aren't exactly banging down the doors to Pullman.)
As can sometimes happen with guys outside the major population centers of the United States, it's looking like Su'a is that rare guy. Upon initial evaluation, Scout.com rates him four stars and ranks him as the No. 18 outside linebacker. Let's just say that jumps like that don't typically happen.
So what do scouts see in him? Let's take a look.
First of all, that reported 4.5 speed appears to be legit. You have to wait through most of the video to see it, but that punt return for a touchdown near the end showed me pretty much all I needed to know. Bigger than just about everyone on the screen, he was pulling away from guys at the end. It's tough to know what the competition level was, but that's what I'm looking for. And he's got it.
As for where he ends up playing? As noted earlier, Scout.com projects him to defense, and rumor has it Chris Fetters of Dawgman.com was the major driving force behind his stellar evaluation. He seems to be one of the few guys who's seen Su'a in person, and he had this to say about him on Dawgman's message boards:
I saw him during a 3.5 hour practice this spring, and physically he's as close to Manti Te'o as I've seen. Kid is a beast.
Not familiar with Te'o? Watch this. (Skip about the first two minutes.) Te'o would go on to hold one of those audacious press conferences to announce where he would go to school, spurning USC for Notre Dame. Yeah, comparing Su'a to Te'o is pretty high praise.
That video doesn't do a whole lot to help us see the potential at linebacker, save for a handful of hits. We don't get too much of a sense of his instincts or anything like that, so we'll just have to trust the scouts on that one. Besides, speed and athleticism almost always plays on defense, so it's not like it's some sort of stretch.
However, unlike another player we profiled recently, I wouldn't be too quick to write Su'a off on offense. He does have that excellent speed, but even more importantly, he seems to have good acceleration out of his cuts. He's got some shiftiness to him, and he also displays some good hands. At 6-foot-2, he's definitely a little taller than prototypical running backs, but with another 20 pounds of muscle on his frame, he'd be right about the size of Logwone Mitz or Marcus Richmond. The question, of course, is if he'd be able to maintain that speed at a bigger size. If he can, don't be shocked if he gets a chance to stick on that side of the ball.
Honestly? I don't really care where he ends up, because the kid is good -- and that's all that really matters. And with his stock on the rise, there are no indications that he's looking around -- great news for a program that obviously needs as many athletes as it can get.