Palelei Still Plans to be a Sun Devil

Po'u Palelei was one of the marquee players of ASU's 2007 recruiting class. He was also the lone player that failed to qualify academically. The Las Vegas offensive lineman moved to the valley and enrolled at Mesa Community College to study for the SAT and enroll in classes. How is he fairing academically these days? Devils Digest sat down with Palelei and got the latest update on his status.

"I went and took some classes there at MCC for a little bit," said the 6-5 335 Po'u Palelei who moved to Mesa at the end of August. "I had to stop taking classes because I needed to work. But I did reach my qualifying score on my SAT. I'm gonna take a correspondence class just to make sure, that's what my teacher told me I should do."

Palelei noted that the teacher he had at Mesa Community College is Gene Fazio, who has a well publicized track recorded of preparing high school players for college entrance exams. Most notably, he helped ex-Sun Devil star Terrell Suggs several years ago. The lineman said that the test score and the other pertinent paperwork has been sent to the NCAA clearing house so they can give their stamp of approval concerning academic qualification.

Last week the Bishop Gorman (Nev.) lineman moved to Oceanside in the San Diego area where he grew up and still has family living there. He's been working out diligently so he can stay in shape. "I did have to evacuate because of the fires, but we were lucky and our house was OK," he said.

Being that he lived just a short drive from Tempe, Palelei has kept in touch with his recruiting coach at Arizona State and has been keeping tabs on the undefeated Sun Devils. "I call Coach Cozzetto all the time to tell him what's going on with me and see what's going on with the team," he commented. "The team is doing so great, I wish I was qualified and could be with them. I got to see some games at the stadium and also on T.V." He added that he has been to some practices when he was still living in Mesa, and his closest friend on the team is fellow offensive lineman Richard Tuitu'u.

The 2006 U.S. Army All-American, who's ranked by as the ninth best offensive guard in the nation, was considered the best offensive lineman prospect out of the five signees in that position in ASU's 2007 class. Palelei selected the Sun Devils over Washington and Texas A&M. Head Coach Dennis Erickson went as far as saying that there was a chance that Palelei could avoid redshirting his freshmen year and bolster the depth among the team's front five.

Due to his high skill level, schools didn't shy away from trying to lure Palelei away from his original college of choice. Thus far, those efforts seem to be futile. "I'm still panning to start classes at ASU in January," stated Palelei. "I switched phone numbers and I heard that some schools were calling my old number trying to get a hold of me. I don't really care anyway. I'm still a Sun Devil."

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