Maninoa Tufono traveled to the mainland with the intent to show off his skill set in front of college coaches and he's set to return home having done just that.
The class of 2019 linebacker from Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou picked up a dream offer from USC on Tuesday during an unofficial visit to campus, just two days after earning MVP honors for his performance at Rising Stars Camp.
"Coach Clay (Helton) broke it all down very well and USC has set the bar real high for me," Tufono told Scout.com. "USC has always been a dream school for me and I love what they have going on over there. I love the coaching staff and I love coach Clay.
"To be in the camp and participate was great because I got a chance to work with the staff and coach Johnny Nansen. The atmosphere they have at USC, I just feel that it's a great place to be. I went on an unofficial visit after they invited me back to check out the campus and the Coliseum."
Despite the program's illustrious football tradition and what the Trojans have done in recent recruiting cycles to land some of the West region's top Polynesian talent, Tufono was struck most by something else while on his visit.
"I didn't know how great the education was at USC and how much they have to offer in that area," Tufono said. "I'm not very sure what I want to study yet, but I'm interested in going into the business field.
"Me, my dad and my brother had the opportunity to sit in the team meeting room with coach Clay. We talked for a little bit and he offered me the scholarship. I was speechless and overwhelmed. I'm just thankful, grateful, and give all the praise to the Heavenly Father."
Although the Trojans made a tremendous impression the last few days, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect said he plans to continue taking the process slowly and assess all of his options. He holds additional offers from the likes of Hawaii, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Washington State, and is set to visit UCLA on Wednesday.
"Getting the USC opportunity of course is great, but I'm going to take my time and see any other opportunities that may come to me," Tufono said. "(Palaie Gaoteote) and I are actually first cousins, and I'm sure we're going to be having some deeper conversations about USC."