For Tupou it's a family affair

Growing up, Archbishop Murphy (Everett, Wa.) DE Taniela Tupou was born into the game of football. His father played JC football and his "uncle" was a standout for the University of Washington and then played professionally for the New York Jets. Now, the talented defensive end is prepared to don the purple and gold and he said his family is a big reason he committed to the Dawgs on Thursday...

For a long time, Tupou said he was pretty sure he knew where he wanted to play his college football, but it wasn't until recently that things began to wind to a close.

He said his family had a lot to do with that and on Thursday, following Washington's fifth practice of spring football, he, along with his parents, stayed late and during a meeting between the four he told Husky head coach Steve Sarkisian that he wanted to commit.

"He was real excited, everyone was," Tupou told Friday morning. "I mean, I was excited, and my mom cried a little. It was a real special moment for me and my family.

"My family means everything to me. Coming from Hawaii and then living here pretty much my whole life, I just couldn't see myself playing anywhere else so I'd say the fact pretty much my entire family is here is probably the biggest reason I committed."

Included in that family is the man he calls "uncle" but who is really his father's first cousin -- former Husky offensive lineman Siupeli Malamala.

"Honestly, I never really talked to him about Washington too much, but I sure will now," Tupou said with a bit of a chuckle. "He's my dad's first cousin, but I just call him 'uncle'."

Another thing that Tupou attributed to helping him make his decision was his relationship with the two Washington assistant coaches that ran point on his recruitment -- Johnny Nansen and Jeff Mills.

"Coach Mills and coach Nansen are both good guys, I really like them a lot," Tupou said. "The program has so much energy and I really wanted to be a part of it."

Tupou said he now plans to work on some other 2011 recruits who he has formed relationships with including Gig Harbor TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Skyline WR Kasen Williams.

"That's what I'm focused on now," Tupou said. "I'd love to play with those guys, so I definitely will be talking with both of them."

Tupou committed to Washington over offers from Washington State and BYU and heavy interest from Oregon, Oregon State, Hawaii, Idaho and some interest from schools like Notre Dame, Stanford and Boise State.

For those wondering, Tupou is LDS and at this point, he said he's looking at taking his mission after his freshman season. However, his cousin, Manti Te'o, who is plays linebacker for Notre Dame, has opted to not take his mission and that may be an option for him as well.

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