"First I had a deep talk with my parents, just talking about the benefits, and we knew that Stanford was the most ideal school for any person out there, education-wise and sports-wise," Savaiinaea said. "Knowing that they only have 11 scholarships to give out, I wanted to reserve my spot there, because it is my top choice right now.
"It felt like my future would be in better hands with [Stanford] even if it wasn't with sports, if it was what I'm majoring in, I felt like they would give me the best future possible. It was just a great fit and I just felt at home when I visited there. Those are a couple of main things that made my decision."
Savaiinaea's parents were thrilled with his choice.
"They were really happy with it," Savaiinaea said. "I think my mom shed a couple of tears. It was good. It was a great thing."
Savaiinaea called his regional recruiter, Stanford assistant coach Lance Anderson, to inform the Cardinal of his decision. Suffice it to say, Anderson was elated to hear the news.
"[Coach Anderson] was at a basketball game but we had a quick conversation," Savaiinaea said. "He talked with my mom a little bit about the choice and everything and then I just told him that I wanted to verbally commit to Stanford. He was ecstatic. He was excited about it. He just wants me to have a conversation with Coach Shaw tomorrow."
After calling Anderson, Savaiinaea informed former Punahou teammate and 2012 Stanford recruit Luke Kaumatule of his decision.
"I Facebook messaged him but he didn't get back to me yet, so hopefully tomorrow when he sees me he already got the news, and we'll see what he says," Savaiinaea said. "He's probably going to be crazy about it, so just be ready to take in all of that."
Although he's verbally committed to the Cardinal, Savaiinaea isn't ready to completely shut down his recruiting just yet. He still plans to stay in touch with other schools and take a few official visits.
"The thing I liked is Coach Anderson was cool about me still talking to other schools and visiting other schools," Savaiinaea said. "I do plan to at least take a couple of visits to at least my top three, Stanford included, so I'm going to take only three official visits and probably do the same routine with talking to other colleges. If they do change my mind and I decommit, then that's what happens, but they're going to have to really do something amazing to do that, so we'll see."
Savaiinaea doesn't have a firm top three, but said his second-place school is currently Texas A&M, which extended him an offer a few weeks back.
"The coaches seem very laid back and it seems like I can go in right away as a freshman and make a big impact," Savaiinaea said of Texas A&M. "The school and everything is great. I felt a very good click with them also. I'm kind of excited to go visit their school."
One school Stanford probably won't have to worry about swaying Savaiinaea is Notre Dame. The Irish recently offered the five-star recruit, but unlike the Aggies and Cardinal, Notre Dame isn't one of Savaiinaea's choices.
"It was a great offer," Savaiinaea said. "Ever since Manti Te'o went there I wanted to get a scholarship from them, but honestly I feel like I would be in his shadow. Coming from Punahou, where Manti came from, I get compared to him a lot already and I feel like if I go to Notre Dame, it's going to be the same exact routine with getting compared and not really being able to make a name for myself. Like if I do something good, it's always going to be, 'Oh, that's what Manti did.'"
Savaiinaea reports a 3.4 GPA and is thinking about majoring in biology. He recently retook the SAT and plans to take a rigorous course load next fall with an eye on getting admitted to Stanford.
"I'm taking two AP classes next year just to get my admissions all set up and everything," Savaiinaea said.
At Rivals, Savaiinaea is No. 155 nationally, while at ESPNU, Savaiinaea, like Stanford's other two 2013 commits, is on the 300-man ESPNU150 watchlist. But to Scout, only Kyle Murphy (No. 14) has been a higher-rated Stanford commit since the service started nationally ranking players in the 2005 class.
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