Recruiting battle royale for Beavers

AMONG THE PRIZES still remaining to be claimed in the 2012 recruiting class, a highly sought 6-4, 260-pounder who hails from American Samoa. He has double digit offers, including four from Pac-12 schools. And the Beavers are way up high on the list.

Destiny Vaeao out of Tafuna High quietly tripped to Oregon State earlier this month. With a week to go before Signing Day, he looks to be deciding between the Cougars and the Beavers according to a source.

American Samoa has one of their best classes of football talent in years for 2012, says Brandon Smart, the Executive Director of Field House 100, a non-profit that works to help student-athletes go on to college and who has his finger on the pulse of the Samoa recruiting scene. And Vaeao is the headliner.

"We have six guys in the NFL currently from Samoa, and this is a lot of projecting obviously, but this guy fits the mold of those guys, with the size and athletic ability. He has that kind of potential," said Smart.

Alabama was an early suitor. In addition to Washington State and Oregon State, Washington and Colorado also offered from the Pac-12.

"Alabama tripped him out the first game of the year. They eventually took a guy from Georgia, closer to home but for three months he was talking on the phone with Nick Saban. Tennessee was trying to get him to trip out. He's visited Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. He loved his trip to Washington State. And then the next weekend, he really enjoyed his visit at Oregon State," said Smart.

WHAT IT LOOKS to come down to is this, said Smart – Oregon State likes him at tight end, and that's his preferred position although it's not a deal breaker. Washington State likes him at defensive end, and Vaeao has forged a particularly strong bond with WSU area recruiter and d-line coach Joe Sa'alevea.

"He has a great relationship with Coach Sa'alevea. Out here, to be playing for a coach a lot of these guys grew up watching in Joe Salave'a – they all know him because it wasn't long ago they were watching him play on Sundays in the NFL," said Smart.

Vaeao is currently in Texas, participating in USA Football's International Bowl, (formerly known as the Team USA vs. The World). The Feb. 1 game coincides with National Signing Day, and most of the players including Vaeao are expected to announce their decision then.

"He's the most athletic big man in the last 5-6 years from here, by far the most impressive kid coming out of The islands," said Smart.

Destiny Vaeao profile


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