Honolulu (Hawaii) St. Louis offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry (6-2, 305) saw his season come to a heartbreaking end last Friday, when St. Louis lost to Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou.
While that chapter of his career is closed, the nation’s top-rated center knows he’s got plenty of football still ahead of him.
Selected to play in the UnderArmour All-America Game, Ulu-Perry committed to UCLA in the summer and visited his future school earlier this month, and is counting down the days till he gets to Westwood.
“I was actually going to play basketball this year, but decided I just want to focus on football and training with my uncle,” said Ulu-Perry. “I’m training in the weight room so I can get ready for college and be ready to play as soon as possible. I’ll be enrolling at UCLA in the summer.”
Ulu-Perry camped with the Bruins in the summer, got an offer from UCLA and then committed not long after his visit.
When he visited for the Oregon game, only a loss could mar what he said was a perfect trip.
“It was perfect there,” said Ulu-Perry. “UCLA losing was the only thing I did not like. But it didn’t shake my commitment at all. I’m still completely committed to them. I loved the atmosphere. I finally got to see the Rose Bowl and that was a cool thing. I got to see their Friday practice, got to eat a lot of meals, and it was just a good trip for my family as a whole.”
Ulu-Perry was hosted by Poasi Moala and also spent time with a few other players.
“Poasi was my host and he’s a real laid back person and I really got along great with him,” said Ulu-Perry. “The other guys with us all weekend were Sam Tai and Isaac Savaiianaea. We all hung out. I played against Isaac when he was a senior so it was fun hanging out with him.”
Ulu-Perry also got to spend ample time with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm.
“Coach Klemm and I have a solid relationship, like a big brother-little brother relationship,” said Ulu-Perry. “We have that connection too because, even though he isn’t Hawaii, because he played at Hawaii, he’s like a Hawaiian to us.”
Ulu-Perry also got to talk with other coaches, including Mike Tuiasosopo, Angus McClure, Kennedy Polamalu and Demetrice Martin.
“I also got to talk a lot with Coach (Jim) Mora and he’s a great man and I’m excited to play for him,” said Ulu-Perry.
Ulu-Perry got some more clarity on where the UCLA coaches envision him playing.
“When I come in, I’ll start out at guard ideally and then when Jake Brendel graduates, I’ll play center,” said Ulu-Perry. “I’m preparing for both right now. I was at left tackle this year, but then we had a left-handed quarterback, so they moved me to right tackle so I could block his blind side. So I’ve played almost every position.”
In fact, UCLA offered that left-handed quarterback recently, 2017 southpaw Tua Tagovailoa.
“I’m always talking to Tua about UCLA and he’s always asking about UCLA,” said Ulu-Perry.
Ulu-Perry said the only highlight of seeing Oregon play UCLA was seeing another St. Louis quarterback, Marcus Mariota, in action.
“It was cool seeing Marcus do his thing,” said Ulu-Perry. “It’s an honor and a privilege to watch him in his last year in college. I know he’ll do big things in the NFL. That means a lot to all of us at St. Louis.”
With all of the success that St. Louis has had of late, there are players all over the country.
He’ll visit Colorado and Texas A&M after the season, where both have former St. Louis players (Juda Parker at Colorado, Jeremy Tabuyo at Texas A&M). Ulu-Perry also plans to visit Texas Tech in mid-November and Oregon State when they play Oregon.
But he said it’s more about the experience, then true interest in those schools.
“I’m 100% solid to UCLA,” said Ulu-Perry. “Coach Klemm said when I committed I could take the visits because, coming from Hawaii, it’s just not easy to visit so many schools and he said he wanted me to be able to have the experience.”
Ulu-Perry saw his season come to an end against a loaded Punahou squad, and while they ended his prep career, he’s spending a lot of time working on Punahou offensive lineman Semisi Uluave to join him in Westwood.
“I know in talking to Semisi, he made a list of UCLA, Oregon and Texas Tech, in that order,” said Ulu-Perry. “So I talk to him a lot about UCLA.”
After a stellar spring, where he won NFTC OL MVP honors in Los Angeles then starred at The Opening, Ulu-Perry moved in to the top spot at center.
For a player from Hawaii, it’s a big honor.
“It truly is a blessing from God to be thought of like that,” said Ulu-Perry. “I just keep it in mind, though, and don’t let it get to my head. Just because it’s on paper doesn’t mean I don’t have to prove it. So I have to prove it in every game and keep working for the top spot.”
He’s eager to show his stuff at the UnderArmour Game.
“That’s a really big honor for me,” said Ulu-Perry. “I want to represent Hawaii and St. Louis and UCLA down there.”