Hawaii once produced the No. 4-ranked defensive recruit in the country when Punahou’s Manti Teo signed with Notre Dame in 2009.
Recently, the islands have produced the Elite 11 winning quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa of Saint Louis, who signed with Alabama and led the Crimson Tide to a national championship, spurring a second-half comeback in a win over Georgia in overtime.
The top junior prospect in the state is Saint Louis defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele, who is one of four prospects in the class of 2019 from the islands ranked in the top 160 nationally.
Tuitele is in his own category, evidenced by his recent accolades that have quickly piled up, and is quickly approaching Te’o’s recruitment status.
In addition to recently being part of the first group of Polynesian Bowl All-Stars selected for the 2019 game, Tuitele was named to MaxPreps’ All-America team for juniors.
He has picked up four major offers in the last three days, including three from the SEC. SEC champion Georgia was the latest to offer Tuitele, which he announced today on Twitter.
— FAATUI TUITELE (@tuitele87) January 17, 2018
The Bulldogs’ offer follows offers from Florida, LSU and Illinois.
With those four offers, Tuitele is up to 25 total, surpassing Tagovailoa’s total. He’s the first player to hold at least 25 Division I FBS scholarship offers since Kaiser offensive lineman Michael Eletise had 41 before signing with Arizona in 2016.
Now listed at 6-feet-4 and 299 pounds, Tuitele is rated by 247Sports as the No. 2 defensive tackle prospect in the country and the 29th overall prospect in the class of 2019, regardless of position.
His offer sheet includes seven SEC schools (Florida, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt) and seven Pac-12 schools (California, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington) along with Clemson, Wisconsin and Notre Dame.