40 time: 4.55
From: Gardena, California
High School: Serra
At the beginning of the recruiting cycle, the CU staff pointed to Apaiata Tuihalamaka as one of the top targets on the recruiting board. The Buffs' staff got great news over the weekend when the Serra linebacker committed to them. "I gave Colorado my word that I am coming there," Tuihalamaka said. "I would say I am a soft commit because I promised some other schools a while back that I would visit them. Schools like Arizona and Oregon have been recruiting me for a long time and I promised those schools and those coaches that I would visit so I need to follow through. I want to make sure I am making the right decision and that I am not missing anything."
On his visit to CU, the linebacker felt right at home. "I always get a home-like feeling when I am there. This past weekend was the second time I have been there because I went to their Friday Night Lights event over the summer. I love Coach Hawkins and Coach Cabral. I had no problem connecting with them. I want to help them win a championship. On the visit, we had a few Polynesians so they served us a Polynesian dinner with dessert. It was great! I got along real well with the other Polynesians that are already on the team. Me and Michael Sipili get along real well. Whenever you get a bunch of Polynesians together we all get along like nothing."
When he visited over the summer he stayed with former Buff and his cousin, Vili Maumau.
Tuihalamaka is also excited about the opportunity to play for a Polynesian coach in Brian Cabral. "Coach Cabral understands where we come from and can relate with us. He has given a lot of us opportunities to play college football. If it weren't for him, we might still be back on the islands gathering coconuts, surfing and chasing pig. I can really appreciate someone like him. He is also a great coach and that is the main reason I want to play for him."
Also on the trip was Tuihalamaka's cousin, Nate Vaiomounga. Nate also committed to the Buffs. "He called me up and told me he committed and we talked for a while. Him and I are real close. Him going there now makes my decision that much harder. They recruited him as a safety and I could be playing right next to him at outside linebacker. He is lucky that he plays safety. I have always wanted to play that position but I am too big."
He is being recruited by most schools as a linebacker, but some have mentioned defensive end. "USC and UCLA were the main ones telling me they wanted me as an end and they had offered me before the season. But, after I broke my Fibula and missed the year they kind of fell off the radar. USC has been showing more interest lately and I think they could offer before signing day. I have always liked the Trojans and if they offered my decision would be even harder. But, the three main schools that have stayed with me are Colorado, Oregon and Arizona. They have been there for me so I will be there for them and take my trips."
He will visit Arizona Thanksgiving weekend, Nebraska on Dec. 1st or 2nd, and Miami January 12th. "I am going to try to move my Miami visit up, if possible. I want to visit all these schools because they all gave me a chance by offering me so I want to give them a chance by visiting."
Although he missed the entire season, Tuihalamaka may play in Serra's first round playoff game Thursday night versus El Segundo. "The doctors have cleared me to play so I am going to decide if I will, or not, on Thursday. The schools recruiting me have asked that I don't so I can just go to college healthy with no risk. We'll see how I feel on Thursday."
Before deciding on his final five schools, the linebacker had 17 written offers in all. "I don't think I can go wrong with any of the schools I am looking at. When I make my final decision it will be concrete."