Oregon linebacker Kaulana Apelu, a walk-on from Kamehameha who tore his ACL in both his junior and senior seasons of high school, had years of hard work pay off Sunday when he was rewarded with an athletic scholarship from the Ducks.
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior was surprised before Sunday’s practice with a video that featured his mother telling him he was on scholarship.
Here is video of the moment from the @OregonFootball Twitter account.
— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) August 21, 2017
Apelu is one of five Ducks from Hawaii — DL Scott Pagano, a Clemson transfer, is a 2013 Moanalua alumnus; sophomore Matt Mariota, a 2015 Saint Louis graduate, is practicing at tight end this season; and true freshmen Isaac Slade-Matautia (Saint Louis) and Adam Stack (Kamehameha) are working through their first fall camp in Eugene.
Apelu played running back in high school — when healthy — but made the move to linebacker after walking on. He did most of his work on special teams before injuries at the linebacker spot opened the door for him to make his season debut in the fourth game of the season against Colorado. Apelu had five tackles against the Buffs and then had five tackles and an interception in his first career start against Arizona State.
He went on to start twice last season and finished with 29 total tackles, including a career-high nine in a game against California.
Here’s our story from 2014 detailing Apelu’s rough period of high school, which included the death of his father, and how Kamehameha adopted the mantra ‘win it for 13.’