Salu starts big weekend with commitment

In a crucial weekend for the Midshipmen's recruiting efforts, the staff got off to a strong start with a commitment from T.J. Salu Sunday morning in the office of head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

GoMids.com caught up with the 6-foot-2, 285-pound defensive lineman out of Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore., who was still on campus in Annapolis with his parents.

"The trip went really well," Salu said. "My parents has a lot of questions going in. The coaches were very straight-forward with us and answered all of the question we had. After talking with both of my parents, who accompanied me on the visit, I decided to commit to Coach Niumatalolo. We talked for awhile in his office this morning. I told him when I began the recruiting process, it wasn't to find the school with the best football program, it was to find the one with the best education that I can go and receive for free. The decision I made to attend Navy will not just benefit me for four year, but for forty. It's a school that will best set me up for my future and everyone has made me feel right at home.

"The meeting was an emotional time. It was a two-year recruiting journey that required a lot of hard work from myself and my family. It's hard to really put it into words but it's amazing. There was an outpouring of emotions in the coach's office from hearing my dad talk and Coach Ken talk. Tears were shed, but it's really just an awesome feeling. Both of my parents are beside themselves. I think my dad wants to come play for Navy more than I do, and I really want to."

Salu has a long list of accolodes at Central Catholic including first team all-conference as a junior and senior, second team all-state as a junior, and first team all-state as a senior. He served as a team captain on the 2014 Rams, a team that won back-to-back OSAA Class 6A championships. Although recruited by Navy to play D-line, most of Salu's accolades acme at center.

"Navy coach Shaun Nua was my recruiter," he said. "The like me at defensive tackle or nose guard, but have told me not to be surprised if, when I get there, Coach Ken wants me to play center. It's makes no difference to me what I'm playing, really, I just like to be on the field.

"It was December 1st (2014), when Coach Nua finally offered but I had been talking with them for awhile. They said they just liked what they saw from my with a high motor, they said I'm 295-pounds but I run like a deer, was something they told me early on. And they though I was a very agile lineman who could work well in their defensive front.

"It's kind of undecided right now if I'm going to NAPS or direct. My GPA is so high that if I retake the SAT again I could probably go in direct. There's a lot of benefit, though, with spending that first year at NAPS, so I'm likely headed in that direction."

Not many 295-pound lineman compete in the 100 meter dash but Salu does at Central Catholic as well as the shot put and discuss throws. He chose the United State Naval Academy over offers from Sacramento State and San Diego.

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