Certain schools in the Hawaiian islands are known for producing Division I players just about every year, but Honolulu (Hawai'i) Iolani is usually not one of them. This year, however, the huge defensive tackle Sealii Epenesa (6-2, 305) is an exception to that rule.
The huge defensive lineman could have more offers, but the distance and economics are preventing it.
"A lot of schools want me to go to camps over there, but I can't afford that," Epenesa said. "The camps are expensive, too."
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Camps or no camps have not stopped a few top colleges from extending him a formal scholarship offer.
"I have three offers right now," Epenesa said. "They are from UCLA, Colorado and Texas Tech."
Epenesa is definitely not anywhere near making up his mind, but when he was asked if one school might have a slight advantage, he named one Pac-10 school.
"Ah, I like UCLA because I like the location," Epenesa said. "I have a lot of family near there. I have a lot of family in Torrance. I have talked to a lot of (UCLA) coaches."
Epenesa would like to be able to talk to more coaches, but having to practice, play football, attend school and what is probably the main reason – the three-hour difference in the West Coast time zone. Texas Tech is on his mind, but another Big 12 university draws a little more of his attention.
"I like Colorado, too," he said. "I know a couple of people going there next year. They are graduating this year and going to Colorado That would be a plus."
What will be the deciding factor in his final decision?
"I don't know," Espensa said. "It is tough as they are all good schools that offered me. We will see. I want to go somewhere where there is family and be less homesick."
Other than playing football at Iolani, Epenesa plays center for the basketball team. At first, he didn't have an idea why he stands out on the football field, but it finally came to him.
"Oh, I don't know that," Epenesa said at first to what makes him stand out on the field. "I do stand out on my team because I'm the biggest one. Our team is all Japanese kids and they are all tiny. I'm like one of eight that are Samoan kids. There are only eight Samoans that go there and the rest are Asian, so we have a very small team."
That would seem indicate that the focus of the opposition is on him during a game. Is that true and what are his stats?
"Yeah, I get double and triple teamed all of the time. Every team is like that," Epenesa said. "I don't know any of my stats. I didn't have too many sacks, but I had tackles for loss. I had a few sacks, but it was not a big number."
It was pointed out to him that the local Honolulu newspaper has called him a one-man wrecking crew and he came back with a short comment with humor.
"I guess you could say that," Epenesa said with a laugh. "I have some things to work on, though."
"You know, quickness and I can still get stronger. I have got to work on my hands."
Epenesa believes that his team has one bye week during the upcoming season, and he has plans to visit the UCLA campus right now for that spot on the calendar. Will he commit on that visit? Only time will tell that, but it is looking good for the Bruins as of now.