Claremont (Calif.) junior linebacker Solomon Nokeakua Stroud-Tuliaupupu currently has 16 scholarship offers, and while he has another year to decide which colleges he will seriously consider, USC and UCLA have both made good first impressions.
Both schools offered Stroud-Tuliaupupu a scholarship early in the process and have actively recruited him since last spring. The junior linebacker hit both USC and UCLA campuses for games this season as well.
“I talk to Coach Johnny Nansen at USC a lot and I also talk to Coach Scott White from UCLA a lot,” said Stroud-Tuliaupupu. “I’ve been to both schools and attended games at both earlier in the season.
“With USC, I talk to a few different coaches and even Clay Helton. USC talks about the proximity it is to home. I’m from California and it’s close to my family, so they can come out and see me play anytime they want to. They could come to all of my games, so that’s a big thing.
“I grew up a USC fan, so I’ve seen that cardinal and gold my whole life. All of my uncles are USC fans. It’s close to home and I have a definite interest in them.”
Stroud-Tuliaupupu attended the Trojans' Rising Stars camp this summer and worked one-on-one with the USC coaching staff.
“It’s always a great feeling when you go to those camps,” said Stroud-Tuliaupupu. “You build a lot of relationships and make a lot of friends.
“The main thing I got from it was making new friends. You get to see your competition — people in your same class and people that are going through the same process as you.”
While Stroud-Tuliaupupu grew up following USC, the Bruins have done well to draw his attention with specific areas of interest.
“I have a great relationship with Scott White," said Stroud-Tuliaupupu. “He’s a very good coach and he’s very honest.
“UCLA is a great school and they have a great medical program. They develop linebackers to go to the next level, and that’s their main pitch. They put dudes in the league, and if I can make it, that’s definitely a goal of mine.”
Only a junior, Stroud-Tuliaupupu came into the season with other goals.
“My goal this year was to be a good leader,” said Stroud-Tuliaupupu. “Every team needs a leader, and my team needed me to step up and be a leader this year.
“Building more relationships has been another goal of mine. I wanted to meet people and learn things about people outside the world of high school football.”
Although Claremont has struggled this season, losing to Ayala High School, 38-3, on Friday, Stroud-Tuliaupupu continues to make his presence felt for the Wolfpack.
With 11 tackles and two quarterback pressures, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound four-star linebacker can be seen and heard on the field with his play.
“I like to hit a lot and I like to put the hurt on dudes,” said Stroud-Tuliaupupu. “I try to be physical as much as I can, and if i make the play, that's even better.”