Texas Tech Returns to La Mirada

RaiderPower.com caught up with La Mirada (CA) defensive end Keanu Saleapaga, who Texas Tech offered on Monday. Get the scoop on Saleapaga's recruitment by Texas Tech coach Darrin Chiaverini (pictured above) inside.

The Texas Tech coaches went back to the well at La Mirada (CA) High School, this time to offer strongside defensive end Keanu Saleapaga.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound defender has an NFL frame already, and plays tight end as well for the Matadores--though he is being recruited purely as a defensive lineman by the Red Raider coaching staff. The coaches went out to evaluate the prospect in person on Monday and offered him shortly thereafter.

Saleapaga has been on Tech's radar for a while, and Coach Chiaverini made the trek out last month to talk to him.

"I'd say about a month ago, the special teams and outside receivers coach came out to see me and he pulled me out of class and told me they're watching me and they're keeping up with me, and my grades, and a couple weeks later the defensive line coach [Mike Smith] came and that's when they offered me. I've been keeping up with them."

While he hasn't talked to Coach Kingsbury or Coach Gibbs yet, he expects them to set up a meeting with his family soon.

"They told me that they're trying to set up a meeting with my parents and the coaches - the head coach and defensive coordinator (from Texas Tech)."

Saleapaga thinks highly of the Red Raiders, and has discussed the school with teammate and Red Raider signee Tony Brown.

"I mean, my teammate Tony Brown signed and he told me a few things about Texas Tech. He just told me about their strong fanbase and how their coaches support what you do and make you a better football player while you're doing it. He just told me about the environment and how comfortable I would feel at Texas Tech."

La Mirada is quite the trek from Lubbock (approximately 1,100 miles), but it may not be a big deal to Saleapaga.

"Honestly, I talked with my family before all of this started. Wherever I'm blessed with an offer then that's where I have to go, take care of business for my family. Near or far, I just have to go get it, you know?"

Family is very important to the California prospect, and he will keep his actively involved in his decision.

"Yes sir, most definitely. I don't think I'd be the person I am today without my family. Church is important in my life too. Family is a big factor."

La Mirada teammate Cameron Carr mentioned in a previous interview that he is very close with Tony Brown and looks up to him like a big brother. Saleapaga feels the same way.

"Him being there, and knowing the game more than I do, he teaches me stuff that I really haven't learned yet."

Saleapaga doesn't have any visit plans set up yet, citing a desire to focus on the upcoming season and school year.

"I'm just gonna finish strong, I'm excited for this season, and I'll worry about all that after. School is my main focus, I want to finish strong."

Saleapaga holds offers from Oregon State in addition to Texas Tech, but is getting interest from a lot of other schools including Oregon, USC, and UCLA.

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