Wisconsin has been looking to have its presence felt in the West Coast since the arrival of Gary Andersen and his coaching staff, as well as recruiting Polynesian players to the program. Andersen and defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a were at the All-Poly Camp in Utah this week and offered one of the top performers in Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei senior defensive tackle Olive Sagapolu.
"The defensive lineman coach Chad Kauha'aha'a approached me after the second day of the All-Poly camp and made an offer," Sagapolu told BadgerNation. "I was elated and feeling very blessed. I like Wisconsin because they have a great academics program, football team.
"Coach Chad has that Ohana spirit. We pacific islanders have this sense of family. We can be total strangers until we meet and become close as family and that is an important aspect for me. I know Wisconsin is far, but we take our values and family with us. That is my drive and that is what keeps me going. I am aiming to obtain a degree that will make my family proud and also pursue my dream."
The 6-2, 293-pound physical defensive tackle is flying under the radar, but opened up some eyes at the camp after he walked away as the defensive lineman MVP.
"The camp went well," said Sagapolu. "I learned a lot of new technique things for a defensive lineman. I thought the camp itself was great. Great coaching from coaches all over the country. I believe there was a ratio of four coaches per player. The players are all very good. It taught me where I am at with my technique. There were some strong guys that came out of the camp. There was some great competition at the camp, too."
Sagapolu only held an offer from Sacramento State heading in the camp, something that will probably change after his impressive performance. One thing that won't change is the recruiting effort from his teammate in senior tight end and Wisconsin commit Kyle Penniston has been putting in.
"Kyle and I are pretty tight," said Sagapolu. "He speaks to me frequently about Wisconsin and he has been wanting me to go with him and visit Wisconsin. I believe that he will talk to me more about Wisconsin. I hope to visit, but right now I'm focusing on the upcoming season and my senior year and working hard on my academics."