Poutasi Poutasi -- the son of a hotel worker, after whom he is named (yes, there is a Poutasi Poutasi, Sr., and the double-naming convention is, Poutasi said, common in Island culture, though he doesn't know the background of his own appellation) -- had never had filet mignon.
Not once in his life, he said, had he even tried it, before Saturday. He was excited to finally get a bite. But, before the main course of succulent steak arrived in front of him at the Chart House on Pier 39 on Saturday, the 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman from Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines put down his salad fork, raised his glass, and served up something else.
"I said, 'I'd like to thank coach [Justin] Wilcox, and all the coaching staff for having me here, and I will be spending the next four to five years of my life as a Cal Bear,'" Poutasi said. "Everybody was just clapping, cheering."
Then, he wolfed down two pieces of that elusive filet. He is a lineman, after all. "It felt good," he said, and so, too, did the visit.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1749962-scouting-report-po... "I have a really great relationship with the coaches, I bonded with the teammates, and with the commits there, too," he said. It felt good, Poutasi said, so, he figured, why wait until Sunday? Poutasi's older cousin, Samuelu Poutasi, formerly a charge of current Cal offensive line coach Steve Greatwood at Oregon, told his younger cousin that, if he ever got a chance to work with Greatwood, he had to take it. So, Poutasi Poutasi took that chance.
"My dad, my family is originally from here, so it was just like coming back home," said Poutasi, who has a 3.2 GPA, and will be the first member of his immediate family to go to a four-year university.
"My dad was thrilled," Poutasi said. "He was overwhelmed with joy. This was one of his dream schools -- Stanford and Cal. He knows they're both very high-academic institutions, and he wanted me to go to one. I never thought my grades were good enough, but Cal hit me up, I sent them my transcript and my test scores and everything. Thy said I'm good enough, that I've got a full ride. I wanted to come here."
Neither Poutasi, Sr., nor his wife, Vaelua (suffering from diabetes) were able to make it this weekend, but they were there with him, in a sense. Poutasi, Sr., was born and raised in San Francisco, so it was appropriate that his son was able to say, 'College is on me,' in that very same city.
"I took a video of me doing my toast, and I sent it to them," Poutasi said. "Oh, man, it's such a blessing, being able to say, 'Mom, Dad, I'm going to school for free,' and Ill be helping them with the stipend checks and everything -- I'll be giving them more money. Knowing that I'll be able to help them, for everything they've done for me, they made me a good man, the man that I am today. I just want to give them all they deserve."
Poutasi, Sr., was born in the City, then moved to Samoa, before coming back to San Francisco, where he met Vaeloa, and then moved to Las Vegas. Poutasi's immediate family is a big one -- he has one older sister, an older brother, and a younger sister. His youngest sibling died shortly after birth, when Poutasi was seven.
When Poutasi arrived in Berkeley for the weekend, he felt like he was around family, surrounded by Polynesian players, including Hamilton Anoa'i (given that Poutasi is a bit of a wrestling fan, he knew of the family, which includes Roman Reigns and The Rock), as well as another of his recruiters, quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo. His host was punter Dylan Klumph.
"Riding on the ferry," Poutasi said, was the most memorable part of the weekend. "It was awesome. Great sights, seeing the Bay Bridge, and driving across it, coming to the campus. Then, touring everything, seeing Berkeley, seeing one of their 32 libraries. It was great."
Though Poutasi's parents couldn't make the trip this weekend, Poutasi said, they will "of course" be making the trek for his games in the fall, for now, they'll just have to hold on to that video.