Introducing the 2005 Class: Shawn Lauvao

Out of the 50 states in the union, it goes without saying that no one territory resembles Hawaii and its exotic terrain. From a football standpoint, very few states can claim to be a consistent producer of quality linemen on both sides of the ball. The Sun Devils seem to have already stroked gold with offensive lineman Brandon Rodd, and Shawn Lauvao could very well follow suit.

Leaving such a unique environment such as the Aloha state is usually a tough decision for college prospects to make. Nonetheless, for the 6-3 315 Shawn Lauvao it was anything but a tough dilemma. "I was pretty sure I was going to play on the mainland," said Lauvao who was a first-team all-state selection as an offensive lineman. "The whole level of competition, the experience I would get, the exposure…it's very different on the mainland. I wanted to go to the Pac-10 and play with the best of the best."

By his own admission, he sent out his highlight tape very late in the recruiting process (after his senior year ended). However, once he did his prospects changed dramatically. "Arizona State was the first school who started recruiting me," he recalled, "and then all the other programs started recruiting me too. I took all the schools seriously because I sent out my tape very late. But there was a loyalty factor to Arizona State since they were the first ones to offer." Schools such as Washington, California, BYU, and Utah were also heavily pursuing the offensive lineman as the recruiting season was coming to a close.

Lauvao mentioned that there was a humorous side note to his late arriving tape. "(ASU's offensive line) Coach Myers called me and said he watched my tape," Lauvao commented. "There was a mix-up on my tape because it said that I was a 2006 recruit. He was happy when he found out that it was wrong (smile)."

Just a few weeks after his tape was viewed by the Sun Devil coaches, he paid Tempe a visit. "I was impressed by their strength and training program," Lauvao stated. "They're an improving team, and they have a good educational system. It was a nice visit. I felt comfortable, and got a good vibe – that's really the truth."

During the Letter of Intent press conference Head Coach Dirk Koetter mentioned that the lineman, who was hosted by Brandon Rodd, had so much fun on his ASU trip that he didn't want to leave. "That's true," said Lauvao as he laughed. "Brandon is from Hawaii, so when he talked about his experiences at ASU that convinced me that ASU was the place for me. He's a good guy."

A common notion concerning Hawaiian players claims that the presence of Polynesian and Samoan players on a team does heavily influence their decision as to which school they will attend. For Lauvao that fact carried no weight. "It didn't make a difference to me that they were Polynesian players on ASU," he claimed. "That was never a factor in my decision. I wanted to experience something different anyway."

While one may have the desire to experience different surroundings, way of life, etc., an inventible (and sometime rough) transition period does occur. How does the 17-year old Lauvao plan to withstand it? "You have to be very observant (laughs). Just be safe and watch out for yourself," he said. "It's obviously a very different culture. A lot of people here in Hawaii are friendly, and on the mainland they just keep to themselves and don't say ‘Aloha' to everybody they see on the street (smile). But just the fact that you're in the brotherhood of football players – that helps you a lot with the transition. Also once you settle into your routine, you get used to the daily grind."

The fact that the incoming freshman was impressed by the Sun Devils' conditioning program should come as no surprise. He placed second in the Hawaii Strong Man Competition when he was 16 (in the 16-18-year-old age bracket). His weight lifting bests include a bench press of 420 pounds, a 500-pound squat, and a 300-pound power clean. "During my junior year I started lifting seriously," Lauvao commented. "I got stronger and I started going to all of these strong man competitions. I just love the whole grind and the hard work that goes into lifting. I love to compete and raise my bar. Working out also helps me get away from everything, clear my head and focus."

During his junior and senior year at Farrington High he was a team captain, and with a 3.8 GPA he was voted the Farrington High Scholar-Athlete of the Year. "I think I'm a good run-blocker, but people told me I'm a better pass-blocker," he said of his skills. "I like run-blocking better. I'm consistent, because I stay with my blocks and if I'm running down field I'm always looking for someone to hit." Following his solid senior year, Lauvao was selected to play in the Hawaii Classic All-Star football game last December

In a previous interview to Devils Digest, Rodd claimed that his high school team was so pass-happy that they would elect to air out the ball on a 3rd and 1 on the goal line. Lauvao does nothing to dispel that fact. "Yeah, Brandon's school passed the ball all the time. If it's a private school they pass the ball more, if it's a public school they run the ball more (smile). The offense ASU runs is similar to my high school. It's not just run-oriented or pass-oriented, it's a good mixture."

Lauvao is projected at left guard, which is his preferable spot. But more than anything else, he would be content with breaking the common trend among true freshman offensive linemen and playing in his first year. "I've been training very hard, so I don't want to redshirt (smile)," he said. "But Coach knows best and he'll decide if I'm gonna redshirt or not. All I'm gonna do is try and raise the bar for myself, so I get better and have a chance to play right away."

Whether it's this season or 2006 something tells us that it will be hard to keep this talented and motivated young man on the bench…

Recruit Profile

Name

Shawn Lauvao

High School

Farrington (Honolulu, HI)

Position

OL

Height

6-3

Weight

315

Birthplace

Honolulu, HI

Nickname

"Didn't have one"

Favorite TV show

"South Park"

Favorite movie

"Coming to America"

Favorite singer/band

"50 Cent"

Favorite food

"Jack in the Box"

Favorite drink

"Diet Pepsi"

Favorite athlete

"Michael Vick"

Favorite pro team

"Atlanta Falcons"

Person you most admire

"My parents. They lead by example."

First football memory

"My mom bought me a football when I was five. I played a lot of catch then."

One thing most people don't know about me

"I enjoy participating in strong man events."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I enjoyed the coaches and staff. I felt very comfortable there."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"I wanna be in the NFL, but you have to make sure that you get your degree. I would like to go into physical therapy."

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