Early look: 2016 American Samoa WSU prospects

WITH WASHINGTON STATE continuing to prime the American Samoa pipeline in the just-signed recruiting class, what's the early word on the 2016 prospects? For starters, keep an eye on one big offensive lineman out of Pago Pago who is already making a name for himself. Read on for that, a lot more names plus video ...

New Coug Tago had more offers that previously known

What is the Pasefika International Sports Alliance?

"We do the best we can to connect with the grass-roots level kids -- the kids from Hawaii, the kids from American Samoa where there are very limited resources," said Misipeka. "This was actually the second group of kids that we've brought in (to Hawaii for exposure). Last year, we brought in Logan Tago and he picked up offers from Wisconsin, Oregon State, Colorado, Wazzu, Oregon, Hawaii and Washington. And Wazzu was a perfect fit for him."

Wait a minute. Tago also had an offer from Oregon? And Wisconsin too?

"He did, he had over 10 offers I believe, including Oregon and Oregon State and Wisconsin... But Wazzu and Joe Salave'a had that strong connection for him - and also for Amosa Sakaria," said Misipeka.

And now it's on to 2016.

"With the group of athletes in the 2016 class, we're trying to give them the opportunity because of the limited resources back in American Samoa. Amosa was also out here a little bit last year, he trained with us a little bit and trained with some of the athletes in Hawaii. Just to be able to be in a proper facility and setting, and it really helped him to... be exposed to the resources in Hawaii (compared to) American Samoa," said Misipeka.

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First, a number of ’16 class Polynesian prospects out of American Samoa and Hawaii who bear watching and who have Pac-12/FBS potential, and there are several more in the Class of 2017 with the same kind of potential: that’s the word from Keiki Misipeka, who runs the Pasefika International Sports Alliance foundation based out of Hawaii and who is working with all five student-athletes.

Through PISA, several American Samoa and Hawaii prospects participated in the NIKE combine this past Sunday in Hawaii.

In the American Samoa 2016 class, offensive lineman Frederick Mauigoa (pictured above) is drawing high early interest from Washington State, Oregon State and others. He holds an offer from Hawaii as rides from some smaller schools.

He also already checks in at 6-4, 295-pounds.

"His athleticism, for someone his size, is special," said Misipeka. "He has really good footwork. That's something we've been working with him on and he can play both sides of the ball - he could play defensive tackle, nose tackle at the next level depending on what scheme they run and then he can play offensive line.

"I'm predicting offensive tackle at the next level. He's a good-sized kid, he has nimble feet."

Mauigoa, despite the large number of prospects on hand, was singled out for his work at the NIKE combine in various reports, including one from KHON-TV in Honolulu, who noted "a record 800-plus teenaged football players hit the turf of Aloha Stadium Sunday afternoon."

Mauigoa immediately after the combine Sunday received an invite to the NIKE combines later this spring and summer in Oakland and Eugene, respectively. It's a long way from here to there but if Mauigoa excels at either one of those combines, which will feature a higher level of competition than in Hawaii, he could potentially snag an invite to The Opening, which NIKE bills as its premier summer showcase event featuring roughly 160 high school recruits from around the nation.

RB Vaevae Malepeai checks in at 5-11, 200-pounds and clocked the fastest 40 time at the combine, a 4.44. "I believe he is the front runner for Offensive MVP in the state of Hawaii," said Misipeka.

LB/S Jeremiah Pritchard out of Farrington, Hawaii also helped himself this past weekend, Misipeka said. The 6-0, 210-pounder already holds FBS offers from Colorado and UNLV.

OL Iverson Moala "attended Moanalua High and also participated in the combine. He returned to American Samoa and is also one of the top 2016 OL prospects from American Samoa," Misipeka said. He checks in at 6-1 1/2, 315-pounds.

D-line prospect Edward Manase (6-2, 285) from American Samoa also showed well in the combine's OL vs. DL challenge, Misipeka said.

IN THE 2017 CLASS, names to keep an eye on and who performed well this past weekend according to Misipeka include QB Tua Tagovailoa out of St. Louis High in Honolulu. He already has a Washington State offer, plus offers from UCLA, USC, UW and others.

Juliano Falaniko out of Leone High is another, a 6-3, 198-pound safety who could be a linebacker at the next level. Blessman Taala is a LB/FB-type now, could become a DL-type later who currently checks in at 6-0, 255-pounds. (He's the first American Samoa freshman Colorado has ever offered, Misipeka noted). Misipeka's son, defensive back prospect Keikiokalani Misipeka, (5-8, 170) clocked one of the fastest 40 times Sunday with a 4.58. For all the combine results, CLICK HERE.

WSU has signed five Polynesian players to their 2015 class: DT Thomas Toki, DE T.J. Fehoko, S Shalom Luani plus Tago and Sakaria, the latter two coming out of American Samoa. The group of five will join nine fellow scholarshipped Cougars on the 2015 roster: DE Hercules Mata'afa, DE Kingston Fernandez, NT Ngalu Tapa, LB Frankie Luvu, DE Destiny Vaeao, S Taylor Taliulu, DL Darryl Paulo, DL Daniel Ekuale and NT Robert Barber.

  • Misipeka said Power 5 schools like Washington State will often take some extra time before deciding on whether to offer American Samoa prospects compared to those stateside. Schools "need to do a little more homework" due to the level of competition and disparity in resources between American Samoa and prospects stateside, he said.

  • Other 2017 class members out of American Samoa and Hawaii CougFans should keep an eye on: "C.J. Liana of Farrington High was a USA Today Freshman All-American. Challen Faamatau is also highly regarded, he's one of the best running backs in his class. Freedom Alualu is a solid fullback-type and has drawn interest from San Diego State. Freedom is the cousin of Tyson Alualu of the Jacksonville Jaguars," said Misipeka.

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