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August 6, 2011Santa Clarita (Calif.) College of the Canyons offensive lineman and Auburn commitment Will Latu pledged to the Tigers on July 22 after formerly being committed to West Virginia.
Latu actually committed having never visited Auburn before, but that changed on Saturday as the junior college lineman checked out his future home.
Latu made the almost eight hour drive from Tampa, Florida to Auburn with his father, mother, and his girlfriend, and left his visit giving his school of the future high marks.
"It was a good experience," Latu said. "I wanted to visit before I started my season. I like the feel, it's a southern feel, a family feel. It's a blessing to be out here and enjoy this weather. It was everything I expected coming from a team that just won the national championship."
So after his first visit, how solid is Latu's commitment to the Tigers?
"Everything is good," said Latu. "I changed my number, and the only people with my number are close friends and family and the Auburn coaching staff. I'm done and here now."
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Latu spent time with Auburn head coach Gene Chizik and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes. Latu said he is becoming closer with Grimes, and is already being sold on his philosophy.
"Those guys are unbelievable, I could sit here all day and talk about them," said Latu. "I look at coach Grimes as a role model. We've been talking for awhile and I think our relationship is getting stronger, I believe in what he is saying and I'm buying into it."
Latu also spent time with offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn. Malzahn's offense has been described many ways by critics, Latu had his own choice of words.
"It's crazy," Latu said. "I like it, the way he runs his offense. I can't wait to strap up. I was telling the equipment manager, 'you might as well just fit me right now'. I know we're going to get after it once I get down here."
Latu was hosted on his visit by former Auburn offensive lineman Jorrell Bostrom, who is now employed at Auburn University. Latu entered the visit with little familiarity with Bostrom, and left with a new cousin.
"I didn't know my cousin was part of the 'War Eagle' family," Latu said. "It's a small world, we're definitely going to build a relationship with each other."
Latu plans to spend some time in Tampa with his family for a few days before heading back to California and starting his last season in junior college. Latu knows he needs to improve on his technique and fundamentals to prepare for the SEC.
"I know I have a lot of room to improve," said Latu. "I just need to work on footwork, pad level, that type stuff."
Latu is one of the Tigers' thirteen commitments for the 2012 class so far, and joins Colorado four-star Shane Callahan in Auburn's current offensive line haul.