Contra Costa's Aumua verbals to WSU

It's been a long, circuitous route for Contra Costa DE Niki Aumua (6-6, 225) to get where he is today, but the hard work he's put in over the past year paid off recently when he visited the one D-1 school that has offered him -- Washington State. While on his visit he decided he'd seen enough and ended the recruiting process by committing to the Cougars...

"I visited there this past weekend for the Apple Cup and I loved it," Aumua told "I loved the atmosphere and the coaching staff and getting to know the players. It was the right fit and I loved the college town feel of it.

"I committed to (Washington State) and I'll sign with them on February 2nd."

As noted earlier, Aumua hasn't taken the normal route to getting to where he is. He attended Alameda (Ca.) High School, but didn't graduate.

"I got kicked out because they said I was short some units and wouldn't be able to graduate on time," Aumua told the Alameda Patch over the weekend. "I ended up graduating from a continuation school in Alameda called Island High"

He took a year off after he finished up and was contemplating just working and not going back to school, but his cousin convinced him to come play football with him at Contra Costa.

"My cousin just wanted me to play ball with him for one more year," Aumua noted. "I did and I was actually a receiver and I had some disciplinary problems and missed five game. But at that time, I was just playing ball to be with my cousin, I wasn't really out there to play ball as something to keep doing.

"Then, when coach (Alonzo) Carter got hired, he came here with a great reputation of getting guys ready to play D-1 ball and I started to take things seriously and that's why I am here where I am today. "I got in the weight room and got serious about school and I have outgrown the disciplinary stuff, so that won't be a problem anymore."

In his first season of playing defensive end, Aumua was like a 'fish in water', posting 65 tackles, 12 sacks and 25 tackles for loss.

"I actually had more sacks, probably about 15, but they gave some of my sacks to other guys and I also got some half-sacks because we had guys get there at the same time," Aumua said. "I got conference Defensive Player of the Year and I was All-State as well. I'm still waiting to find out about All-Americn nominations, but I just feel so happy to be considered and know I have a lot of progress to make because this was the first time I'd ever played defensive end."

With his long frame and huge upside to go along with his 4.6 speed, Aumua got the attention of Washington State Defensive Coordinator and Assistant Head Coach Chris Ball.

"Coach Ball has been the coach recruiting me for them and he said he loved my explosiveness and my size and speed," Aumua said. "The whole coaching staff got on the phone with me in my coaches office and they all offered me over the phone. It was really a special moment for me."

Aumua said Washington State and Harding, a D-2 program, are the only schools that have shown him any attention, but more schools could get in the mix.

However, he said the Cougars have his commitment and he won't be changing his mind.

"I don't care if a big-name school comes in and offers me, Washington State is where I want to be," Aumua noted. "They showed me the love early and that they wanted me and I really, really respect that about them.

"They believed in me from the beginning and I feel like I owe them a lot, plus I'm looking forward to playing Pac 12 football."

Aumua will sign his letter-of-intent in February and he will graduate with his AA degree in May. Once he arrives in Pullman, Aumua will have three years to play two.

Niko Aumua Scout Profile

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