Since he’s been at Washington State, Salave'a has shown a remarkable ability to pull American Samoa prospects to Pullman – if Mike Leach wanted ‘em and offered a scholie, Big Joe went out and helped gain their commitments for WSU over other schools.
With this class, however, a reliable prep source tells CF.C it’s 50-50 and pick ‘em between WSU and Oregon State for American Samoa’s No. 1 prospect in the 2016 cycle -- Mauigoa out of Tafuna High.
An OSU recruiting benefit with Mauigoa was once seen as it having three assistant coaches of Polynesian descent. But former OSU defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake became BYU’s head coach in December, and OSU LBs coach Ilaisa Tuiaki left to join Sitake. That Oregon State still remains neck and neck with WSU per the prep source, with BYU no longer a contender, is slightly surprising from this chair in light of the coach movement but it also speaks to how long OSU has been recruiting him and working to develop a relationship.
Because of the location, American Samoa prospects are usually well off the radar but Mauigoa was able to compete stateside this past spring and summer, including at The Opening – so he's been on the radar of schools far longer than many of the American Samoan prospects who came before him.
The Cougs will get the first official from Mauigoa this weekend. Oregon State will then host the No. 62-ranked guard prospect nationally on Scout.com the final recruiting weekend of the year (Jan. 29).
Mauigoa showed he belonged on the camp circuit this past spring and summer -- he moves extremely well for his size, especially laterally.
Washington State has six known o-line verbal commitments but they’ll make room for Mauigoa, prep sources have long told CF.C. If he comes on board Mike Leach’s 2016 class, CF.C projects at least one of the current o-line verbals would delay enrollment to next year.
--Previous WSU signings of prospects hailing from American Samoa since Salave'a has been at WSU include Logan Tago, Amosa Sakaria, Shalom Luani (JUCO), Frankie Luvu, Daniel Ekuale, Emmitt Su'a-Kalio (no longer with program) Robert Barber and Destiny Vaeao.
--Speaking of Vaeao, he was rated two stars back in the 2012 cycle by Scout.com but landed offers from four Pac-12 schools: UW, Oregon State and Colorado in addition to WSU. For Vaeao, his finalists were also WSU and Oregon State.
--Vaeao, who never redshirted at WSU, is competing in practices this week in Carson, Calif., ahead of Saturday's NFLPA Collegiate Bowl (3 p.m.; ESPN2). NFL Draft guru Rob Rang told CF.C he expects Vaeao to make a strong impact on the fraft boards of NFL teams in the weeks and months to come before the NFL draft April 28-30.