“When I went on my visit to Washington State I let them know my primary concern was academics,” Mauigoa told CF.C just after he sent in his letter of intent on Wednesday, ending a Pac-12 battle between WSU and Oregon State. “And I saw WSU as the perfect place to fit in with my academics. There is a lot of support there.”
Area recruiter and d-line coach Joe Salave'a ran the recruiting point on Mauigoa, continuing a remarkable string of successes for WSU -- when the Cougs have offered an American Samoa prospect throughout Leach’s tenure at Washington State, Salave’a has gone on to close the deal.
“It was also about having such a good relationship with the coaches and the players there,” Mauigoa said of his decision to sign with WSU over the Beavers, BYU and others.
Offensive linemen tend to need (at least) a year of seasoning before they’re ready to contribute at the Pac-12 level and in Mike Leach’s wide-split, Air Raid offense under o-line coach Clay McGuire. Mauigoa hopes to buck that trend.
“They’re a passing team and I like pass protecting. I think maybe they see (I have) a big heart, and maybe they can see I can make a difference -- maybe even help out with their season next year,” said Mauigoa.
WSU signings of American Samoa recruits under Leach including Logan Tago, Amosa Sakaria, Shalom Luani (JUCO), Frankie Luvu, Daniel Ekuale, Emmitt Su'a-Kalio (no longer with program) Robert Barber and Destiny Vaeao. Pictured above are Tago, Mauigoa and signed WSU Hawaii OL Nilsson Gaisoa, also a Salave'a get.
Mauigoa gained unusual exposure for an American Samoa prospect this past summer, landing on several Power 5 schools’ recruiting boards due to the Pasefika International Sports Alliance foundation bringing him stateside to work the camp and combine circuit. Keiki Misipeka is the founder of PISA, while director of academics Rachel Jennings holds down the fort in American Samoa. “I’m very thankful to them, they gave me the opportunity to expose my talent on the mainland.. there’s not much exposure here on ‘The Rock.’”
Mauigoa, said Misipeka, has developed a solid academic background in part because of Jennings’ efforts. Many of the top football players in the territory come to her house on school nights to study and with no TV or internet as distractions, it’s time well spent, Misipeka tells CF.C. Jennings also provides college coaches with student transcripts, SAT scores and NCAA evaluations. And that’s only a fraction of what she does to help recruits like Mauigoa come to schools like Washington State, said Misipeka.
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