After reportedly being torn between Cal and UCLA over the past couple of weeks, Honolulu (Haw.) Punahou kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn firmed up his commitment this week to UCLA.
"I looked at everything about the schools, and talked with my family," Fairbairn said. "It was just a tough choice, because both schools are so prestigious, but ultimately I liked the campus and the coaches at UCLA so much, and that made the decision for me. The campus and just the feel of the culture at UCLA is what set it apart."
Fairbairn is now very much expected to sign with UCLA on Wednesday. He's teammates with another UCLA commit in running back Steven Lakalaka, and also with Stanford commit Luke Kaumatule, a defensive end who's taking a look at UCLA. Kaumatule was just recently admitted to Stanford, but Fairbairn is working on him for UCLA.
"He got admitted to Stanford, but I think he still has a decision to make," Fairbairn said. "I'm trying to get him to come with us, because he's a great players and he works very hard. He's a great teammate to have."
Fairbairn might be able to give him some advice on making tough decisions. Fairbairn said that what made his decision difficult was the fact that schools were so even in what they were offering.
"Most schools told me that I'd have the opportunity to start next year," Fairbairn said. "It was another factor that made the decision pretty even for me. But UCLA just eventually stood out to me as the place I needed to be."
Another factor that did play in UCLA's favor was the kicking tradition of the Bruins. Fairbairn has made it his goal to become another in the long line of great UCLA place kickers.
"I've definitely noticed the UCLA tradition of great kickers," Fairbairn said. "Kai Forbath, he's in the NFL now and he was a Lou Groza award winner. Groza is kind of the kicking prize, so that's my goal."
In terms of range, Fairbairn said he has kicked in the mid 50's before, but that he is more focused on accuracy rather than sheer distance.
"What I try to do is be 100% under 40," Fairbairn said. "You want to be nearly perfect under 40, and anything after that is a bonus. But I hit from 55 in a game this season, and I've hit from 57 in practice this season."
Fairbairn plans to be at UCLA starting in the summer for workouts.
Fairbairn Firms His Commitment
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