2009 Athlete Usua Amanam

San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep athlete Usua Amanam landed his first offer from a lifelong favorite, and several other schools are taking a close look at the versatile prospect from the Bay Area...

San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep athlete Usua Amanam (5-9.5, 175), took in a pair of Junior Days in the last few weeks, and one resulted in an offer for Amanam.

"I was at Stanford (the first weekend in March) and they offered me on Junior Day," said Amanam. "I had a little bit of an idea that they would because Coach Dahlman e-mailed me and said Coach (Jim) Harbaugh wanted to see me before it started. So I kind of had a feeling. But it was really exciting. Going to Stanford for a lot of people is a dream come true, and getting that first offer of my back, it was really exciting."

Amanam said that he expected the offer to be strictly as a cornerback, but the Stanford surprised him.

"I actually thought they would offer me as a cornerback, but Coach Harbaugh said when he saw my film that he liked the ball in my hands and that I could be a returner, play some scatback, maybe float around on offense. They're not trying to change my position."

Amanam had been to Stanford numerous times before, but none was as detailed as the Junior Day trip.

"Honestly, I've been to Stanford a lot of times before, I used to go there every Saturday and sit in the old bleachers for games. But seeing Hoover Tower, seeing the dorms, I thought it was cool. The campus was beautiful," said Amanam.

With the offer from Stanford, Amanam said he was tempted to commit, but held off.

"I actually called my coach when they offered me, and he said I owed it to myself to go through the process, I told him what I had in my mind, what I wanted to do with the Stanford offer. I definitely still want to go check out schools and see if something else appeals to me. Hopefully other schools will attract my interest," said Amanam.

Still, Stanford is the prohibitive favorite for Amanam. The week before, Amanam took an unofficial visit to Northwestern for the Wildcats' Junior Day.

"I thought it was really cool," said Amanam. "The weather was different from the Bay Area, it was 30 degrees when I went out there. The campus was very nice, very scenic and the Lake was frozen over. The coaches took care of me. Northwestern is one of my top choices."

Aside from Stanford and Northwestern, a handful of other schools appeal to Amanam.

"Definitely schools like Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Virginia, North Carolina, UCLA and Texas," said Amanam. "I'm going to UCLA for their Junior Day, and I think I may go back out to Northwestern. I'm going to check out Vanderbilt for one of their spring practices over spring break. And maybe Wake Forest, I'll go out there on an unofficial."

Amanam has stated previously that academics would play a huge role in his decision, and the list of schools he's interested in, indicate that.

"Honestly, if the school doesn't have good academics, I'm not looking at it at all. You can only play football for so long and it will only take you so far. The whole point in going to college is to take a good education and academic opportunities and do something with them," said Amanam.

When he makes his decision still remains to be seen, but Amanam does have a time frame.

"I definitely want to make my decision by next football season," said Amanam. "I don't want to play next football season with that waving over my head. I think it would be a big burden taken off if I would commit. I definitely want to make my decision, and make the right decision."

During his 2007 junior season, which he won Player of the Year honors, Amanam starred at running back and safety. Coming out of the backfield on offense he had 220 carries for 1,656 yards and 20 touchdowns while also hauling in 21 receptions for three more touchdowns. He also had six interceptions on defense and earned GoldenStatePreps.com First Team all-state underclass honors.

Academically, Amanam has a 3.6 GPA and will take the SAT on May 3rd. He's enrolled in two AP classes as well.


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