Gerard Martinez |

Saleapaga has successful summer

LA MIRADA, Calif. — USC defensive end commit Keanu Saleapaga used the summer to get better in two ways.

The season didn’t start the way Keanu Saleapaga had hoped, but as a USC commit, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound three-star defensive end is determined to lead La Mirada back from a 76-8 drubbing by St. John Bosco Friday.

“My mind set is to be there for my team,” said Saleapaga. “I’ll play anywhere they need me.

“We didn’t play as one in this game. That’s what we work at, but we didn’t do it. I have to lead and keep looking ahead and we’ll get it right.

“I mean, I’m ready for college, but right now, it’s about my team and making them better.”

Saleapaga spent much of the summer making himself better on and off the field. After committing to USC in June, Saleapaga hit the books with the guidance of the Trojans coaching staff.

“Our communication is good, and we keep in touch pretty regularly,” said Saleapaga, who was recruited to USC by Johnny Nansen. “They’re on me grade wise and making sure I’m situated to qualify.

“I passed all of my classes in summer school, and those were the ones I needed to be eligible. I passed my Algebra 2 class with a B+ and then passed another class I had to retake from my freshman year. Now I’m in communication with them about my classes during the school year and getting that set.”

Saleapaga committed to USC with scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Texas Tech and Oregon State.

But entertaining interest from schools besides USC is the farthest thing from his mind.

“Right now, I’m not thinking about visits to other schools,” said Saleapaga. “I’m focused on my team and doing what I can to make them better.”

Saleapaga wants to avoid distractions his senior season, but he remains a solid commitment to USC for other reasons as well. 

“Ever since I was born, I looked at the television and hoped I could go to USC,” said Saleapaga. “Now that I’m committed, that’s all I think about.

“I go to school, I got to work out and all I think about is USC, USC, USC.”

As week one of the college football season descends on Trojan fans, Saleapaga is looking forward to seeing USC playing better defense in 2015.

“I know USC is going to do big things,” said Saleapaga. “I really want to see of the defensive backs live up to the hype. They got some lock down guys in last year’s class, so they should be good.

“On the d-line, I know they lose some guys, but that’s why I’m looking forward to stepping in when it’s time.” Top Stories