Kaleopaa talks ASU visit

La Mirada (Calif.) linebacker Koa Kaleopaa was impressed by his unofficial visit to Tempe yesterday and shared his impressions with Devils Digest.

"It was a pretty good visit," said the 6-3 250-pound Koa Kaleopaa. "They took us on a tour of the whole campus and the facilities and we got to see what it's like to be a student-athlete there. I like how they really take care of you there and make sure that you get your degree. They really hammer you hard on that. The academic advisor told us that they want the whole team to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher so they can wear the Scholar-Baller patch on their uniform.

"I really liked the uniforms. The black ones were sick. I love how the stadium is between two mountains. I saw the plans for the new stadium and it's great how they are going to keep cooler in the summer. I really liked everything I saw and I couldn't believe how big and nice the campus was."

Kaleopaa, a Hawaiian native who moved to Southern California prior to his sophomore year at La Mirada High School has been playing middle linebacker for the Matadores. When visiting with the Sun Devil staff yesterday he said that he is being recruited as a ‘Devil' backer.

"It's a weak side linebacker that sometimes plays with a hand on the ground," Kaleopaa described, "so it's a defensive end/linebacker that rushes the quarterback. Some plays you could be standing up like a linebacker usually does. I like the scheme that Arizona State runs because they are always aggressive and the offense doesn't know what they will do next with their coverage. It keeps you guessing and gives the defense an upper hand. In the scrimmage you saw them creating turnovers and really pressuring the quarterback.

"When I talked to (outside linebackers) Coach Lorig he said he likes my size and speed and thinks that it's perfect for the "Devil' backer position. He also likes that I'm a well-rounded player that can rush the quarterback but also be physical against the run and hit hard. I know I need to do a better job reading offenses."

The linebacker has been offered by Arizona, Arkansas, California and Colorado. Kaleopaa said that while he did leave Tempe with an ASU offer, he felt that one could be coming in the future.

"They said that before they offer a player they want to get and know them," Kaleopaa said. "They don't recruit someone just because they're a good player but also recruit someone who has a good personality and is disciplined. They didn't want any ‘me' guys that look for attention.

"When I was talking to the coaches they seemed to really like me and were explaining a lot of stuff to me about how they run the position and the defense. They are going to see me in spring practice and I'm planning to go to their camp in July."

Kaleopaa said that both Los Angeles schools have also been showing interest but haven't been recruiting him as hard as ASU was. He added that he has no plans at this point to visit other schools in the upcoming months or attend any combines/camps.

The linebacker did however indicate that he is planning on making his decision no later than August.

"I'm not going to wait until right before my season starts to make a commitment," Kaleopaa remarked. "I'm probably going to decide two, three weeks before my first game so I can focus on my senior year. I'm looking for a school with a good academic support so I can get my degree, and be on a team where everyone has the determination to get a national championship.

"It would be nice to play in L.A. or at a place that is just a five-hour drive from home so my family can see me. But if I have to go further than that to play in college that isn't as big of a thing as it is with other players."

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