Tepa: I'm Pretty Excited About UCLA"

Defensive end prospect Iuta Tepa from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly originally verbally committed to Hawaii, but the status of that commitment has changed considerably, especially with his impending official visit to hometown UCLA this coming weekend...

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly defensive end Iuta Tepa (6-2, 240) said he no longer considers himself a commit to Hawaii, and that he's no longer considering the Warriors.

That bodes well for UCLA, where he's visiting this weekend, and who he said is his leader.

"I'm visiting UCLA this weekend and I'm not even really thinking about Hawaii anymore," said Tepa. "Right now, I'm focused on staying here. I haven't committed yet but I'm pretty excited about UCLA. If everything goes right, I'll probably commit this weekend. I just talked to Stan (Stanjarivus McKay) about what was going on and he was saying to commit."

Tepa visited Hawaii and Oregon this month, and had good experiences on both visits.

"With Hawaii, it was my first time visiting there," said Tepa. "It's nice out there. It was humid but still nice. They have the whole city thing going on and they have the beach right there."

A week later, he visited Oregon. "My trip to Oregon, it was good and it was nice," said Tepa. "I liked the campus and everything and I liked what they had to offer. It was pretty cold though. My host was Kenny Rowe, I played behind him when I was a sophomore."

But the visits also showed Tepa how much he is comfortable in Southern California.

"At first, I wanted to move far from everywhere else," said Tepa. "As soon as I visited the colleges, there was something about California that made me not want to leave. This is my hometown, my home place and when I came back it was good to be home. And I hadn't been gone for that long. Imagine if I had been gone for a long time."

Tepa said his early commitment to Hawaii was sincere, but that as more options became available and the opportunity to stay on the mainland presented itself, it became clearer to him what he wanted to do.

He said: "I'm happy that it happened. I'm happy that now I can have my friends dropping by if I stay close to home. I mean, I got everything set for me. My family is over here. I've got the city life over here. My family, they all want me to go there to UCLA. Some want me to go to Oregon, but most want me to go to UCLA. It's up to me."

Tepa said his visit to UCLA, which begins Friday, will be the final step before making his final decision. "I'm excited about that," said Tepa. "I'm ready to sign."

Tepa had 112 tackles and 15 sacks during the Jackrabbits CIF-SS Pac-5 title season, which also saw them make it to the California State Open Division title game.

Academically, Tepa has a 3.3 GPA and he achieved a qualifying test score.

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