Next up in our 2023 UW Recruiting Profile series is Saone Faasolo out of Menlo-Atherton HS, CA. Having a firm belief that the lines are the foundation of any team, I decided that our next couple of breakdowns should focus on Scott Huff’s eye popping offensive line class. Check out my breakdown of fellow ‘23 OL commits Elishah Jackett, Zachary Henning, and Landen Hatchett.
Faasolo is Huff’s 2023 swing for the fences. Since the start of his tenure, when he’s had the space in his position room, Huff’s targeted a handful of raw but incredibly gifted offensive line prospect to stash on the bench for a few years in the hopes of developing a monster. Guys like Jared Hilbers, MJ Ale, Samuel Peacock, and Robert Wyrsch all arrived on Montlake as lower rated, yet high upside linemen who provided developmental depth with starting potential that is critical for a program like ours that doesn’t reel in ready-made linemen on an annual basis. Saone Faasolo is his man for the 2023 class. Having already secured verbal commitments from a couple of more college-ready OTs (Jackett and Henning) and an extremely promising iOL prospect (Hatchett), Huff has the breathing room to take chances on a guy like Faasolo who might not be ready for a few years.
There isn’t much information on Faasolo out there, but given where he falls in the 2023 offensive line recruiting class, there isn’t much need. From his roster listing and limited hudl tape, you can see the upside that convinced Huff to offer him. Standing at 6-9 and ~260 lbs, Faasolo is a massive human being. Much like Jackett, Faasolo has a long, lean, and athletic frame that could pack on the ~50 lbs necessary for him to match up at the college-level, but he isn’t the type of plodding, big boned lineman that won’t be able to hold up on the perimeter. His key traits that could be a sign of future greatness are his bend and light feet.
Unlike many linemen in the 6-5+ range, Faasolo plays with exceptional pad level. Despite regularly playing against defensive linemen that he towers over by 6+ inches, he is rarely seen losing leverage when coming out of his stance. That pad level, when paired with impressive first step explosiveness, makes him a “plus” blocker in the run game when many of these jumbo OT prospects usually just get by with pure heft or by walling off defenders.
His feet are the other trait that will help him reach the upper echelon of OT play. Despite his massive frame, Faasolo gets around pretty well. He’s explosive in a straight line (as seen in his handful of drive blocks), and he’s smooth when sliding into his pass sets. I specifically say he has light feet rather than true agility because of his rather poor change of direction ability. When moving in space (like the one play of him releasing up field on a screen play or when he’s playing DL), Faasolo looks a bit gangly and lacks some of the movement skills that shorter players have. However, I don’t think this should be considered a major red flag. For being as tall as he is, some of this could be attributable to his body catching up to his rapid growth, and this is something that I think could be improved on as he ages and develops physically.
Fit, Position & Projection
As far as his fit and position in UW’s OL room, I think that Faasolo is an OT-only prospect. He’s simply too tall to realistically expect him to anchor against or root out DTs, and his length would be wasted on the interior. That being said, I think that given his specific traits and skills, I could see his high-end ceiling being somewhere between a jumbo Jared Hilbers and Trey Adams.
While tall, Hilbers didn’t have the elite length or flexibility that Faasolo has, and neither arrived as a college-ready prospect. Adams on the other hand came in as a much more polished technician with a college-ready build, but his play style might be one that Faasolo could mold his game around. Both Hilbers and Adams had similarly light feet with smooth movement skills, but they weren’t the type of quick twitch athlete that shorter tackles are. Instead, they leveraged their length, light feet, and functional strength to manhandle defenders. In the pass game, jump sets and 45-degree sets that mitigate the risk of inside counter rushes were their bread and butter, and in the run game, they were tasked with quick hitting assignments like down blocks and reach blocks more than pulling on kick out blocks. Faasolo would benefit from those same techniques and assignments
With Faasolo its all about upside. The sky is the limit in pass protection, and his combination of size and athleticism could make him a weapon in the run game. Fortunately for him, McKeefrey is an elite S&C coach, and Huff has a long history teaching the types of techniques that cater to his skills. I can’t wait to see him dominate on the field in a few years.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and on Twitter @Coach_808