Claremont High School junior four-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu is now a Mater Dei Monarch. But before he dons the red and white of the Monarchs, he is going to spend the spring playing towards his weaknesses on the 7-on-7 circuit.
Saturday, Tuliaupupu got his first taste of 7-on-7 football this offseason at the King Of The I.E. Passing Tournament in Murrieta (Calif.).
Playing for Team Primetime Polynesian, Tuliaupupu was a bull in a China shop Saturday.
“I’m at a new school now, so I want to continue to build a relationship with my new brothers,” said Tuliaupupu. “I’m playing or them this season, so I’m just putting my head down and grinding.
“But being out here (at 7-on-7), I’m just working to get better on dropping back in open space and covering. My feet, my hips — you can never go wrong working on your hips.”
Tuliaupupu had several collisions Saturday that garnered some discussion with the officials. Tuliaupupu only knows one way to play football.
“I just go balls out and try to get better,” said Tuliaupupu.
Tuliaupupu already has scholarship offers from several Pac-12 schools, including USC and UCLA. The plan this spring is to get out of California and visit schools he hasn’t seen before.
“I want to get out to Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Oklahoma… some of the schools from out in the East,” said Tuliaupupu. “That’s not all of the schools I want to see, but that’s some of them.
“I don’t want to leave any stone unturned. I want to pick the school that’s best for me. I am looking for a school that can take care of me after football because football doesn’t last forever.
“I want a degree that will put me in a good position to take care of my family… a school that will help me move forward as a man, spiritually and mentally with or without football.”
Tuliaupupu is being recruited to USC by Trojans linebacker coach, Johnny Nansen.
“We speak weekly and have a good relationship,” said Tuliaupupu. “We talk a lot about football, just breaking down my technique. He knows I play with my heart and I go as hard as aI can all of the time.
“We don’t always about football, though. We crack jokes sometimes too, so we have a good relationship.”
USC figures to be a school heavily involved in Tuliaupupu’s recruitment throughout the year, if not until signing day.
“I don’t have a list of reasons I like USC, but they’re definitely a great school for football and for academics,” said Tuliaupupu. “I have a good relationship with their coaches too, so they’re definitely a school I want to continue to learn about.
“I do want to get back on campus and see more about their academics support. I’m trying to get that degree because football doesn’t last forever. I just want to be prepared for life.”