Epenesa on Signing With UCLA

Sealii Epenesa, the 6-2 315-pound defensive tackle prospect from Honolulu (Haw.) Iolani, verbally committed to UCLA last Friday, and he talked about his decision, and the chance for early playing time...

Iolani (Hawaii) defensive tackle Sealii Epenesa may be the least known of the class of 2010 prospects who signed NLIs with UCLA yesterday.

But Epenesa has been well known on the Islands for a while, and if he has anything to do with it when he gets to Westwood he'll be well known to the Bruin faithful.

After signing with UCLA on Wednesday, Epenesa said how UCLA had been his long-time favorite.

"I felt like I fit in the most there at UCLA, and the most comfortable," said Epenesa. "Of my other two visits (Oregon State and Baylor), UCLA felt like the best place. That's why I took the trips. I didn't want to make the decision blindly. I wanted to know which school was best for me."

After completing his visits and having a week to contemplate his decision, Epenesa said he was ready to commit to the Bruins, and did so before the weekend.

"I called Coach Rick (Neuheisel) and then I talked with Coach Chuck Bullough and Coach Norm Chow and told them I wanted to be a Bruin. Coach Neuheisel was on the road when I committed and he was excited and welcomed me to the Bruins," said Epenesa. "I was definitely relieved. It was a tough decision and I had been thinking about it for a long time. I'm just glad it's done."

Epenesa said he's well aware of the dearth of defensive tackles on the UCLA roster and knows there is an opportunity to come in and play early.

"I believe there is a chance but I know it's on me and I'm going to have to work hard and play for my position," said Epenesa.

Despite being on the Islands, and the rest of his class being on the Mainland, Epenesa said he bonded with several of them on his official visit.

"I talked to a lot of the guys coming in, and we just bonded," said Epenesa. "We talked about making bowl games, some good bowl games. We're all super excited. We know it's not going to be easy, but we're excited because there is a lot of opportunity."

Iolani hasn't had many D-I prospects, so Epenesa was proud to carry the torch.

"Iolani doesn't have much history and getting guys to play football in college, so it's pretty much a big thing for me and the school," said Epenesa.

And despite having to leave home, he said his family is thrilled.

"My family, they're all super excited, all of them," said Epenesa . "My parents should be coming to a lot of the home games."

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