Beavs dueling with Dawgs on 250-pound bruiser

HE HAS AN Oregon State offer in his pocket, one of three full rides from the Pac-10. But where he might line up at the next level remains in question, primarily because he's 250 pounds of rolling thunder with 4.62 speed.

Soma Vainuku (6-0, 250, 4.62) out of Eureka, Calif. holds offers from Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington, Hawaii and San Diego State. Vainuku said OSU tendered the offer based on his unusual combination of size and speed.

"They've told me they liked how hard working I am, the way I play both sides of the ball and how well I move. They said I move very well for my size, that they're not used to seeing a guy my size moving as fast as I can," said Vainuku.

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Vainuku said he's spending his summer working on two things mainly -- football and the books. And on the summer gridiron, he's 250 pounds coming right at you, fast.

"We just had our team (timing) and there I ran a 4.62," said Vainuku, who does his prep work at Eureka High.

A GENERAL CONSENSUS on a position at the next level looks to be either middle linebacker or in the offensive backfield.

"I'm not really sure what position I might play at the next level, I've told them all I'm open to whatever they want me to play," said Vainuku. "Washington and Oregon State, their offensive and defensive coaches are kinda arguing over what position they want me to play.

"Oregon State has told me I could either play linebacker or run the ball for them, the same goes for Washington."

He's also hearing, over the course of the recruiting season, "a lot" from UCLA and USC.

"USC wants me to play fullback, UCLA wants me to play outside linebacker," he said.

AN UNOFFICIAL VISIT to Oregon State looks to be in the cards in the coming weeks if he can swing it, said Vainuku.

"I haven't really been talking to (most of the) schools a lot lately, I'm trying to concentrate on school but as far as Oregon State, I think they're a really good school. They've got a good coaching staff and a wide variety of players. I haven't been there yet but I like the school and I'm planning on maybe taking a trip out there, and to some other schools that have offered me, later this summer," said Vainuku.

VAINUKU SAID his top priority this summer is working hard in the classroom to ensure he's academically eligible. His cousin is another middle linebacker, Rey Maualuga, and the duo talked football and academics the last time they were together.

"He was here in town recently before he left to go back to Cincinnati and he was just telling me to keep working hard (on football) and to keep working hard on the books. He reminded me the schools are there for you but you have to make sure you meet the requirements or you're not going anywhere. And that's what (my focus) is, every day," said Vainuku.

Vainuku said the usual suspects -- academics and coaching staff -- will be key to his decision. And so will distance.

"I'm also looking for a school that would be (convenient) to my family's travel, that they would be able to come see me, my games and also me traveling back home. Oregon State is pretty close to home. And I'm keeping everyone in the picture and trying to check out all the little things on all these schools," said Vainuku.

VAINUKU SAID HIS early July top five, in order, are Washington, Oregon State, San Diego State, ASU and Hawaii.

"That's accurate on a top five right there. I've made a real good connection on coach Sarkisian and coach (Doug) Nussmeier. We've been in touch a lot lately and they've been helping me out a lot on...what I need to do to get to their school and to the next level. I really like them a lot," he said.

Soma Vainuku profile and video


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