UCLA First on Hawaii Offensive Lineman

UCLA has been on Semisi Uluave the longest, and that means something to the 6-3, 300-pound offensive line prospect from Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou...

UCLA hasn't landed an offensive line prospect from Hawaii since 2009 when Stan Hasiak committed (twice). That dry spell could change in 2015 with Honolulu Punahou High School's Semisi Uluave, who is one of the most highly sought-after big men in the West.

"It's been a lot of fun," Uluave said about his recruitment. "Things have been pretty mellow the last two months or so, but I'm really enjoying the whole process."

The 69th ranked offensive tackle reports offers from all over the country, including from heavyweights Oregon, Stanford, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma which givs him options for an experience not only away from the Islands, but away from the West Coast as well.

"I'm pretty flexible on where I end up going," Uluave said. "The West is home to me and I like the Pac-12, but I also want to learn more about schools like Oklahoma and Wisconsin. My mom said she wants me to get away for school and head to the mainland."

The Bruins jumped into the mix early, and that may carry some weight, along with the jewelry a certain offensive line coach wears on his fingers.

"UCLA is a fantastic program," Uluave said. "They were my first offer and that meant a lot to me. The coaches I've been talking to are the linebackers coach (Mike Tuiasosopo) and the coach with all of the Super Bowl rings (Adrian Klemm)." The three-star has an interest in the theater and musical performance, having just participated in his school's rendition of ‘Guys and Dolls," something that UCLA may be able to capitalize on.

"UCLA has a good musical theater program. I was just in a performance at my school and might be interested in doing more performances like that," he said

Uluave headed to the Lower 48 last summer, visiting two other Pac-12 schools that have offered, but is unsure of his plans for the summer at this time.

"I'm not sure if I'm going to be visiting any schools over the summer," the native Hawaiian said. "Last year I went to Utah, where my dad played, and to Stanford. My cousin (Luke Kaumatule) plays for Stanford right now."

Another cousin of Uluave's is Canton Kaumatule, Luke's brother, and Uluave's high school teammate -- the five-star prospect, and the #24-ranked player in the 2015 Scout rankings. Canton is one of the more heavily-recruited players in the country and a top UCLA target, and the cousins' relationship could bode well for the Bruins in landing both prospects.

"We've always joked around with the idea of going to school together but I am not sure," Uluave said. "It depends on our common interests and if the schools provide something that we are both into. I know he is interested in them, but I'm not sure if he's as interested in UCLA as I am."

Understanding that most college players don't make it to the professional level, Uluave is prioritizing academics when making a decision.

Uluave talked at length about academics: "The most important thing to me is education. I'd love to be able to play in the NFL, but that doesn't happen for most people so I'll need to be prepared for life after football. I want to be able to get my degree and be able to land a good job after college. I'm looking for a school that has the academic programs I'm interested in which are business and psychology. If a school has those as strengths, then it's a positive. I also want a school that I'll fit in with and where I can help them be a better team."

That decision won't be coming for some time as the 6-3, 300-pound prospect plans on fully experiencing the recruiting process.

"I'm going to take all five of my visits. I want to see what each school has to offer before I decide," he said.

Also from Scout.com's Doug Kimmel on Uluave:

With 13 offers and counting, Semisi Uluave has plenty of options. At this point, he is just building relationships with his recruiting coaches and trying to learn more about every school.

"It really a blessing to have some many good options," Uluave expressed. "I'm enjoying the recruiting process and really trying to figure out what school is the best fit for me. USC and Colorado are probably recruiting me the hardest right now, so I'm digging both those schools a lot right now."

"I have a high interest in Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, Utah, BYU, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma too," Uluave stated. "Each school has some things that I am really excited about. Academically, Stanford and UCLA really look good to me and my family. Oklahoma has a strong football tradition and are always ranked pretty high. My dad played football at Utah, and I love the mixture of the Pac-12 and LDS culture going on at the U. My mom went to BYU and they obviously have a strong LDS presence as well. Wisconsin, with coaches all coming from Utah, also understand how important my LDS ties are."

The decision to go on a mission is up in the air right now for Uluave, but his Mormon roots are very important to him.

"I am not sure if I will go on a mission," Uluave said. "But my beliefs are important to me and I want to be somewhere where I am comfortable being Mormon. That is one of my biggest ties to the schools in Utah, as well as Wisconsin."

Uluave is also driven in the classroom, he has always been a great student outside of English.

"School is very important to me and my parents," Uluave explained. "I have always struggled in English, so this year I decided to get a tutor and I actually earned a B+ last quarter!"

"When I think of my dream school, academics are the focus of that place. I have a lot of different paths I could see myself taking in school. My first passion is psychology. I really want to be a counselor someday, helping people is a huge dream of mine. After that, business is a potential option. The last one may come as a bit of a surprise... and that is music & theater! I spend a lot of my free time playing music and acting, which I guess is pretty rare for a big offensive linemen."

When Semisi Uluave isn't honing his acting skills, he is often mauling people on the football field. Uluave has played guard the last two seasons, but will be playing tackle this season. At 6'3", 300 pounds, Uluave is incredibly light on his feet and bends at an elite level.

"This entire off-season has been devoted to working on my agility," Uluave said. "I have been maintaining my strength and really focusing on my quickness. Now that I will be playing tackle, my kick step has become a priority, and I feel like I have improved a lot."

As far as spring and summer plans, Uluave is kind of up in the air.

"I am going to L.A. for the SPARQ combine in the middle of May," Uluave said. "Outside of that, nothing is really planned. I go to a lot of the Hawaii practices, and have a good relationship with the guys over there. Heading back to the mainland is unlikely this spring or summer though. At this point we will save up money for official visits and stuff."

If Uluave isn't going to leave the island, that may bring the mainland to him.

"Vanderbilt and USC have been out here to see me," Uluave claimed. "I think Stanford, UCLA, Utah, and Wisconsin all have plans to come out as well. I am hoping California comes out this way and extends an offer. They are one of the schools I really like, and I know I have to get my grades up to go there."

Uluave is one of the more versatile linemen in the 2015 class, he is capable of playing all five positions on the offensive line. Yet, Uluave believes he has better strengths than his versatility.

"I will do anything in my power to win," Uluave explained. "Whatever school I end up choosing may not get the best player out there, I know I'm not the best, but I know that I won't be outworked. In addition to that, I am a great teammate. I do my best to pick people up, and if I can tell somebody is have a tough day or playing poorly in a game or at practice, you can guarantee I'm going to pick them up."

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