It was no secret that Tuioti-Mariner wanted to stay close to home and when UCLA offered him during the playoffs, they immediately jumped to the top of his board. Tuesday night, the lineman ended the process.
"I called up Coach Mora and committed to UCLA," Tuioti-Mariner said. "I knew around Christmas time I wanted to be a Bruin. I told my mom and then I told some people in my family. I told Coach Negro and some of our coaches but I didn't want it out yet because I thought I might take a few trips.
"I was going to do it this Friday and they wanted to set something up at the school for me. I'm not really in to that, I'm more of a private guy so I wanted to keep it simple. That's why I decided to just call up Coach myself and I'm so relieved and excited at the same time right now. I'm glad the process over and really excited to be a Bruin."
Tuioti-Mariner said he had trouble reaching Mora and actually tried him three times before getting a call back.
"I had finally given up and was going to call Coach Angus (McClure) and tell him," Tuioti-Mariner said. "Then Coach Mora called and I actually told him right away that I was committing. The funny thing is, I don't think he even heard me because he kept talking and didn't sound excited at all.
"About 10 minutes later I said, ‘Coach, you know I committed right.' He paused for a few seconds and then started yelling and asked if I was serious and got super excited. It was great hearing coach Mora get all hyped up on the phone, I really can't wait to play for him. He's such a great guy and a great coach and I think UCLA is going to be doing big things in the future."
"I'm not going to take any more trips, I'm done," Tuioti-Mariner said. "I haven't even talked about that with UCLA yet but I feel like once you commit, that should be it. I don't want to lead anyone on, I'm a Bruin and the only trip I'll take is to UCLA and that will be (Jan. 24).
"This is so big for my family and they're all super excited too. To be able to stay close to home and play in front of my friends and family for a great academic school and a great football program is amazing. I get to play with Jaleel and I know a few other players too so this is just an incredible blessing for me. I can't stop smiling right now, it's a great feeling."
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