One of the most surprising signees in the 2013 class was American Samoa offensive lineman Jerry Saena. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound islander also held an offer from Hawaii but in the end, he knew SMU was the right place for him and signed his letter of intent just a few days after committing.
"What draws me to SMU is not only does SMU have a great football program but their academic program is well known. They have a higher student athlete graduation percentage than most Division I universities," Saena said. "I'm just grateful for this wonderful opportunity that I have to be a part of SMU football."
Dallas is just less than 6,000 miles away from his current home, but Saena says his official visit this past weekend made him feel like part of the Mustang family.
"I have never seen anything like the SMU campus or facilities in my life," Saena said. "It was amazing, and I look forward to attending classes and going to my football workouts. My player host was Blake McJunkin, and he told me I was going to have a lot of fun here."
But what truly sealed the deal for Saena was his relationship with SMU head coach June Jones. Over the summer, Jones hosted his yearly camp in the American Samoa and immediately became intrigued with Saena due to his size and brute strength.
After a strong showing, Saena received an SMU offer and has been in constant communication with Jones since the camp.
"Coach Jones is a very respected man in the American Samoa. He has helped a lot of our people. It was great to meet him and several other coaches at the camp," he said. "It was great to talk to him on my official visit, and I look forward to playing for him. Blake told me he is an amazing coach and that he'll take care of me."
At SMU's National Signing Day press conference, Jones said Saena has the potential to be a first round NFL draft pick. But Saena will more than likely redshirt during his first year on the Hilltop and understands he must continue to develop especially since he's never worked out in a proper facility.
"I believe I am coachable and a good listener," he said. "But I could use some work in the weight room since my high school does not have one. I could also use some help with refining my technique and quickness. I'm excited to get started."
Saena Explains Commitment
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