Kaimuki defensive lineman Evangelist “Sama” Pa‘ama announced his commitment to the University of Washington on Sunday, giving the Huskies a Division II recruit from Hawaii for the second straight recruiting class.
Pa‘ama made his decision based on his successful recruiting trip there. Prior to that, he had his heart set on Southern California.
Aside from Washington and USC, seven other schools have offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Pa‘ama — Arizona, Arizona State, Hawaii, Nebraska, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.
“After visiting Washington, I saw how the facilities and the academics were and how much of a helpful and family environment I was in,” Pa‘ama said Wednesday via cellphone. “I think it’s the best for me to make a decision now because I know it’s going to be time for scouts to come here in the next few weeks. Now that the 2018 class is done, they’re concentrating on the 2019 guys. I’m focusing on my education now. I’m excited about committing to Washington, but I’m nervous, too.”
Pa‘ama has one year left with the Bulldogs.
“(Washington) is telling me to ball out and play my game,” he said. “Entering the school, they’re comparing my size and speed to Vita Vea.”
Vea starred for the Huskies from 2014 through 2017 and is expected to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft later this month.
Pa’ama’s recruitment was similar to the way the Huskies landed Pearl City defensive end Zion Tupuola-Fetui in their 2018 class.
Tupuola-Fetui was somewhat of an unknown prospect when the Huskies were the first school to offer. Word got around of the Huskies’ newest recruiting target and Tupola-Fetui’s recruitment quickly blew up. After UW made its move, he quickly earned offers from schools including Oregon, Oregon State, Vanderbilt, California and Washington State.
The Huskies were the first school to offer Pa’ama, who plays for Division II Kaimuki. Soon after, he had an offer sheet that included USC, Nebraska, Oregon, Virginia and the Arizona schools.
Pa‘ama is looking forward to his senior high school campaign in the fall, when the Bulldogs will be trying to improve on their 5-4 mark from 2017 that ended with a 7-0 loss to Pearl City in the OIA D-II semifinals.
“We want nothing less than a championship,” he said. “The past few years, we haven’t been able to finish. I’m focusing on being a better leader. Our goal is to take the championship.”