Pearl City’s Zion Tupuola-Fetui has earned eight FBS scholarship offers since February, but as long as there are games left to be played this season, the recruiting process will take a back seat.
The Chargers senior, who is being recruited as a defensive end by some schools and a linebacker by others, is playing all over the field for Pearl City this season.
He was menacing on defense in Friday night’s 31-0 win over Kalaheo, coming up with multiple sacks and tackles for loss. He was also active on special teams, blocking a punt that he returned for a touchdown. He even punted once, too.
If that weren’t enough, he also lined up at receiver, where he hauled in a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Isaiah Asinsin.
“Anything to help the team, really. If they feel that I’m needed at position, then I’ll go. I don’t care if I have to be a center or if I have to be a punter, I’m here for my team. I’m at their disposal,” he said. “If they feel that that’s the position for us to get a win, then I’m here for them.”
The increased workload was instrumental in helping Pearl City improve to 4-1 overall and 4-0 in OIA Division II play before its bye week, setting up a Sept. 16 showdown against Kaimuki. The Bulldogs are 3-0 in conference play before next week’s matchup against winless McKinley.
“It’s a big, big, help that we have a guy like Zion because not every year do we have a guy like him,” Pearl City coach Robin Kami said. “We try to take advantage of his size and his speed so we use him on offense, defense, special teams, whatever it takes.”
As one of Pearl City’s captains, Tupuola-Fetui feels the responsibility of leading the team.
Throughout the game, Tupuola-Fetui played until the whistle blew, giving maximum effort regardless of where he was on the field.
“I think that you have to give 110 percent on each play because you take any play off, and that could be the play that decides the game,” he said. “I preach that to my teammates and I have to lead by example.”
He was also seen leading players and coaches in prayer afterwards.
“I just want our team to be sound all-around in school, on the field, to even spiritually,” Tupuola-Fetui said. “These are all important aspects of football. If you ain’t got good grades, you ain’t gonna be on the field. We praise God in everything that we do and to be able to help them with that is just amazing. I love being part of this team, I love every single one of my teammates.”
Tupuola-Fetui says that the goal for the Chargers is to “win it all” this season. It’s why he’s putting his college commitment on the back burner for the time being.
When he does make that fateful decision, he’ll have a lot of outside help.
“I would be lying if sometimes you don’t receive pressure to commit but the recruiting process is different for everyone,” Tupuola-Fetui said. “If you feel you’re ready, you’re ready. But if wait, it’s up to you. It’s completely your choice. I’m just happy that I’m able to go through it with my family and through church as well.
“Everything factors into my decision. If my family is not comfortable, then I’m not comfortable with it. It’s a family decision more than just a personal one.”