"I was over there in the locker rooms and looking around at the Hall of Fame and stuff, and it was just one of those things where I just felt this peace and calm," Ali'ifua said. "It's the place that really feels right."
Ali'ifua played both ways for the Pirates last fall, standing out despite a 1-9 season. On the Fourth of July, he was waking up early for a three-hour morning practice in an effort to turn that record around.
He switches between guard and tackle on the offensive line, and he thinks blocking is his best natural strength. But he also accumulated 22 tackles on the defensive line last season.
He's gotten plenty of advice from his brother, who was a standout on some of the best teams who have every come through San Leandro. Another older brother, Eric, played at Southeast Missouri State, and both have been in his ear.
"We're rebuilding our team this year, and it's looking a lot better right now," Demytrick said. "Last year, I wasn't as strong mentally, and I'm basically just trying to put myself a lot harder. My brothers have said this is kind of your last hurrah to show everyone what you can do."
Utah State coaches were apparently impressed by the youngest Ali'ifua brother when he came to Logan last month. He felt well-received.
"The coaches are just awesome people, and don't just teach football, they teach life," Ali'ifua said. "I know they treat my brother so well up there, so I know I would be treated well. I respect them a lot."
Ali'ifua acknowledged there is a bit of wiggle room in his commitment. If other schools make offers during the upcoming year, he won't necessarily reject them outright. It will be a discussion with his family, he said.
But for now, he plans to be a Utah State Aggie following an LDS Church Mission. And he doesn't really see that changing over the next year.
"Utah State is that school for me," he said. "It's where I want to be."
So far, Utah State's other verbal commitment for the class of 2014 is Chase Christiansen.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon