Charlie Etiaki has had Utah in his sights for a long time.
"I've never been to Utah before, I've actually never been out of state. I have a lot of family in Utah though. I have a few cousins that went to Utah that play and used to play in the NFL. Guys like Chris Kemoeatu and Ma'ake, and Matt Asiata. I've definitely seen a few of their games at Utah over the years."
Etiaki was first contacted by Utah in the spring when Coach Aaron Roderick visited him during spring workouts. That visit impressed Roderick enough to follow up which ultimately led to his offer this week.
"Coach Roderick came over for my spring lifting and spring practices and he told me he was very impressed with what he saw. He tried to call a few times after he came out but I didn't have a phone at the time, so my coach gave him my parents phone number and we got in contact from there. I received my offer from Utah through the mail [Tuesday night] and I jumped at the offer when I got it. I called Coach Whittingham and told him and he was very pumped up, very excited."
Over the summer Etiaki received letters from a number of programs including Oregon, Stanford, and Boston College and he took a few phone calls from the coaches at Cal as well. Offers came in from Nevada and Sacramento State but he decided to be a bit more patient before committing. Now his patience has paid off.
Etiaki was drawn to Utah for more reasons than one. His family ties to the state and the program have always made Utah a desirable location for him, but his conversations with Coach Roderick during his recruitment and Utah's strong Polynesian presence within the program added to the school's luster.
"Coach Roderick kept telling me how Utah was similar to Servite and how they have a strong brotherhood where everybody is tight with each other. The enthusiasm definitely made a difference too. Coach Roderick's enthusiasm to get me there really stood out to me and really pumped me up. He made sure that I was very amped for this decision and I was very very happy about it."
"I've always had family up there and they always say how it's such a great community so I knew it was a good place for me. The Poly culture they have there is also very important to me. I've always lived and followed my Polynesian roots and culture so it's cool that they have that up there too."
At this time Etiaki considers his commitment to Utah as strong as it could be. However, he acknowledges the role that his parents play in his life and the Polynesian way of life and says ultimately he'll end up where they want him to be.
"I would love to stay with Utah no matter what offers come in, but a lot will depend on my parents and if they want that. In the Polynesian culture the parents usually make all of the decisions and I listen to them no matter what. To me, though, my commitment is solid and I'm very excited to come to Utah."
Scout takes a look at what the commitment of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite running back Charles Etiaki to…