Palelei Enjoys Being An Inspiration

One of the prospects in this class that Mike Gundy and the coaching staff easily get excited about is running back Sione Palelei. All you have to do is Google or YouTube one of his many highlight tapes, and you'll see him returning a kick through and mainly around all kinds of defenders.

You might see a handoff where he looks like he is surrounded by defenders, and then all of a sudden he is sprinting into the clear on his way for another score.

Check Palelei's averages and you find that he averaged 7.5 yards a carry as a junior, and 14.2 yards per catch. In the five games he played as a senior before his season-ending knee injury, he averaged 13 yards a carry rushing, and 25.7 yards per reception. This speedster is elusive and explosive, but he is also inspirational and loves sharing.

Palelei is in the midst of rehabbing his ACL ligament tear and subsequent surgery this past fall. Rehab is tough, but Palelei is determined, and he likes to share his determination with a young audience that can benefit from the lesson.

"My passion outside of football, I'd have to say the little kids, and I am in a program at school where I get to speak to little kids and give them inspirational talks," Palelei said. "I like to tell them to keep dreaming, and that whatever it is they want to achieve, that they can do it. In some ways, talking to them helps me stay focused on my dreams and continue through this rehabilitation."

It is because of his knee injury that Palelei has realized that life and dreams can end in a moment.

"I tell them that football is like life: the game itself is endless, but your ability to play it isn't, so you really should cherish every moment," Palelei said. "You have to appreciate it while you can."

Fortunately, his knee injury won't keep him out of the game, as everything is on pace for him to return this fall, and you can be sure he will be following his own advice when he gets back on the field…and will cherish every moment.


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