Tanuvasa: A "dream come true" with Navy

Pepe Tanuvasa was one of two Portland (Ore.) area players, the other T.J. Salu, to commit to the United States Naval Academy on Sunday, January 18th while on an official visit to campus.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder, who was a three year starter at Tigard High School, is coming to Annapolis to play inside linebacker. He said the Midshipmen coaches are a big reason why.

"I really hit it off with Coach Niumatalolo and Coach (Shaun) Nua," Pepe Tanuvasa told GoMids.com. "They came to visit me and I almost committed to them while they were here. I really fell in love with the coaching staff as people, but I wanted to wait and see the campus itself and get a feel for what it's really like to be at the Academy. When I did it only served to confirm what I was already feeling so I went ahead and committed.

"To be able to represent the Naval Academy on the football field is such an honor. I thought it was an honor just to be recruited but to be able to attend is an amazing feeling. Where I started out on this recruiting journey as a junior, I had no idea I was going to end up at a place like Navy with such a rich tradition. It's a dream come true."

Tanuvasa had 100-plus tackles, four sacks, and an pick six as a senior at Tigard in metropolitan Portland. He was named first team all-conference (inside linebacker), second team all-conference (fullback), second team all-state (Oregon 6A) for a team that finished state runner-up. He said the Navy interest begin at the very end of his junior year.

"It was May of last year when I first meet with Coach Nua," he said. "I would meet with him on two other occasions before the offer came in October. They said that I'm a big, physical player who has a knack for getting to the ball. They actually said they liked that I wasn't highly recruited by many schools because they like finding diamonds in the rough like me."

Navy and Virginia Union were Tanuvasa's two offers but he was receiving interest from Nevada, Oregon State, and Utah State. He'll begin his Naval training at NAPS in July.

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