Gonzales (La.) East Ascension running back Sione Palelei has been on college radars since beginning his varsity career as a freshman. The 5-10, 196-pound back earned all-district honors as a sophomore, and after accounting for 1,114 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games in 2012 received all-district for the second time.
College coaches have responded with several schools extending scholarship offers. BYU and Utah were the first to offer and Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, and Southern Miss have also joined the fold. Others such as Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Mississippi State are showing strong interest, and LSU is also in the mix.
Palelei has hit the camp circuit with a recent stop in Houston for the Rivals Camp Series presented by Under Armour, and this weekend he plans to visit Arkansas.
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The Razorbacks have already left a favorable impression and right now stand out as his favorite.
"They are big time out there," Palelei said. "I've done some background on their program and they're pretty good. I looked at their roster and it looks like I might get some playing time."
Arkansas is not the only visit he has planned, with a couple of other stops also on his schedule.
"After Arkansas I'm going to go to Wisconsin," Palelei said. "Then later in the summer I'm going to go to Hawaii."
Palelei's plan is to wait and decide following his senior season; however, he did admit he may be tempted on his trip to Arkansas this weekend.
For now though he is looking to keep his options open. When it is time to make a decision he does know what he is looking for and he keeps it pretty short and simple. In fact it will all pretty much boil down to one big factor.
"It's just whoever has the best program," Palelei said.