USC lands Malepeai in signing day shocker

Mililani running back Vavae Malepeai signed a letter of intent with USC. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.
Mililani running back Vavae Malepeai signed a letter of intent with USC. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Mililani senior running back Vavae Malepeai had been committed to Oregon for nearly a year.

And now he’s going to USC.

The state’s all-time leading rusher made a last-minute switch, signing with USC at the PIAA event at Sheraton Waikiki on Wednesday morning after being committed to Oregon since last summer.

Malepeai visited USC last weekend.

The 6-foot, 200-pound running back is the career rushing record holder with 4,549 yards and 71 rushing touchdowns in 37 games. He passed ‘Iolani’s Joe Igber in his final game of his senior season to set the new all-time rushing mark.


  1. Braddah Matt February 3, 2016 7:53 am

    MEAN… Probably the better choice for him in the long run.

  2. FUKI February 3, 2016 8:13 am

    Congratulations young man

  3. c-Pop February 3, 2016 8:14 am

    Fight On – good choice – Late great former Trojan Mosi Tatupu – Smiling from above!

  4. Marcus February 3, 2016 8:32 am

    Wow. I’m sure Oregon doesn’t regret when they stopped recruiting other running backs because Malepeai had been committed since June. He goes and visits USC the day before coaches aren’t allowed to speak to recruits and lies to the Oregon coaches about it. What a disgraceful move, no honor in that. I wouldn’t be surprised if Oregon wants nothing more to do with Coach York or any Mililani guys in the future.

  5. Tua February 3, 2016 9:20 am

    Wow Marcus why you so hurt for .. it’s his choice, his education, his future .. were you there next to him when he talked to the coaches .. stop with all that bs about him lying and stuff .. He was committed but he saw that he has a chance at USC .. if you was in his shoes what would you have done? Nothing because you’re not, so keep watching ESPN bro

  6. phILHarmonic February 3, 2016 10:05 am

    Just an observation no judgement. There has been several de-commits recently. Some who committed a year out. Will there be repercussions down the line for future players from Hawaii? Will colleges pull scholarships from players in the 11th hour? How does this affect our state and colleges wanting to invest in coming to hawaii to recruit players? Just thoughts.

  7. Donald February 3, 2016 10:25 am

    Well Tua in Hawaii we hope that our boys get recruited somewhere and anywhere. But remember it’s a small island. If schools start dropping out of recruiting in Hawaii because of people making commitments they can’t keep then what’s gonna happen to our boys down the road. Not saying it will but it’s the principle of it. Remember in Hawaii a verbal contract is just as real as a written one.

  8. Phil February 3, 2016 10:53 am

    Players de-commit all the time. This one is just getting more attention here because it’s one of our big-time local prospects. It is not unusual by any stretch. Often times, verbally committing to one school makes the other interested ones come after the player even harder. In the end, the player is going to choose the situation that they feel most comfortable with.

  9. phILHarmonic February 3, 2016 1:28 pm

    Maybe, possibly not commit to any school and reserve the right to share it on signing day?
    I do not know the whole story or whatever may have transpired but I hope the best for this young man.
    USC is closer, warmer, and I’m sure he has a lot of ohana there. Was looking forward to him wearing the same colors that his uncles wore tho.

  10. The facts February 3, 2016 1:43 pm

    He might have beat Joe Igbers record but Joe Igber beat the record against Saint Louis Punahou kamehameha and didn’t stay in all 4 quarters when they were smashing the team already!! And he played more games the Joe! So did he really beat that record? You tell me! And he played for a tiny school known! Just saying. But all in all he’s a great player but the record was not suppose to be broken that way!!!

  11. Marcus February 3, 2016 3:19 pm

    Tua – I’m not hurt, just disturbed. I have absolutely nothing against kids changing schools for whatever factor they deem important. My issue are that he took a call from the Oregon staff and told them he was at home while he was in LA. They found out from second hand sources that he was on an official visit there. The other thing is that other kids wanted his spot at Oregon, since I follow recruiting closely I know there are several RBs who were turned away as recently as last week because Malepeai assured the staff he was solid. His decision affected more than himself, USC and Oregon. As far as the repercussions of this, this very well may affect relationships with Oregon or other schools. Remember, Oregon has given plenty of kids from the islands a shot at playing big time football.

  12. H-Man February 3, 2016 4:34 pm

    Marcus, you bring up a very insightful perspective. Perhaps the NCAA may have to come up with a solution to protect other prospective recruits who get caught in these last minute changes which prevents the affected school from making appropriate adjustment(s). Let’s say that verbal commitments become firm two days prior to LOI signing day. This will allow for the changes to trickle down within a reasonable time and allowing for the adjustments to play out.

  13. Mahatma Gandhi February 3, 2016 4:48 pm

    Marcus, how you got that inside info? You MUST be THE Marcus Mariota and Oregon called you begging to help them out with Vavae. I just wonder why he flipped.

  14. Polo February 3, 2016 4:52 pm

    Marcus enough already! Nothing is going to happen, these things goes on all the time, colleges do it to kids all the time. Norm chow did it to alot of local kids when he was,at byu. Hawaii is a hot bed and will remain a hot bed

  15. Life February 3, 2016 4:52 pm

    I applaud him for changing his mind in the last minute n it’s a great pick. When he agree to go to Oregon it was nothing sign just verbal commited n Oregon could have change there mind in the last minute too. So what he did is nothing new,
    it’ happen all the time during recruitment..

  16. Marcus February 3, 2016 6:06 pm

    Mahatma: I get inside info by paying for recruiting sites, lol.

    H-Man: An early signing period would be nice for both recruits and programs, but brings up a new issue: What if there’s a coaching change or something that causes a recruit to change his mind and he tries to get out of the LOI they signed?

    Polo: Nothing personal against Malepeai, but these things add up. I’m sure Oregon wouldn’t ignore a prospect like a Canton Kaumatale or a Manti Te’o because of this, but borderline kids might be passed over. Trust me on this, I’ve been following recruiting since it’s infancy and connections matter. Some HS coaches shut out college coaches if they wronged a kid, and likewise some programs ignore kids from programs they’ve had issues with.

  17. Makai February 3, 2016 6:12 pm

    Nothing is final till they sign the dotted line…Vavae came to his senses that the O is for 0 titles. I think it’s more ridiculous how some Duck fans are responding and the things they are saying about him on the net.

  18. C-Pop February 3, 2016 6:39 pm

    Marcus or whoever you are..Decommits happen every year in College football, Oregon should have “over offered” which is what most schools end up doing, mainly due to possibility of players changing their minds, happens all the time! Programs find ways to adjust as needed, such as “Gray shirting” or just flat out “Pull the Scholarship offer” And I’m sure coach Helfrich will evaluate “All” of Ducks recruiting efforts, outcomes and determine what they did well and where they went wrong. It’s a process all Colleges go through, assistant coaches or lead recruiters for players get praised & rewarded for securing “Top” recruits or if they lose a recruit due to inability to “Close” a deal affects ones status on a staff. Recruiting is the life blood of a program! Those college coaches “All” know that a Verbal is just that, until it’s signed & faxed it ain’t ever a done deal!

  19. Homom February 3, 2016 8:26 pm

    marcus: do you have a source that says that this will affect future recruiting in mililani/the state of hawaii by oregon or are you just making it up?

    recruits decommit all the time. oregon will get over it.

  20. Aitorahi February 3, 2016 8:36 pm

    It happens every single year by teams and by recruits. Most of the time the players and teams take the high road and wish the other good luck. Fans on the other hand …

  21. Marcus February 4, 2016 8:39 am

    Homom: I’m speaking from experience of following Pac-10/12 recruiting since before the current class of recruits was born. There are numerous examples of coaches stopping recruiting at a certain HS due to shady behavior by recruits and coaches. I did add the disclaimer that supreme talent overcomes that, it’s the kids who are three star players who may have one less option. Oregon does have a Mililani kid they’re real excited for in Rex Manu, a potential starter next year. But Malepeai and Coach York handled this very poorly, and football is a close knit community.

    There is a difference between parting ways and lying. I’m teaching my children the importance of ethics, integrity and respect. I want them to do what they think is best for them, but to do it with honor.

    As a football fan I want to see Malepeai play well and have a great career at USC. Teenagers can be capricious, and I don’t think he had a wrong choice of which school to attend.

  22. hiro February 4, 2016 9:17 am

    Marcus: Lol at York having somthing to do with it…… what about Oregon losing their OC, and going to UCF.Mckenzie Milton decommiting fr Hawaii to UCF….
    Its about what suits you as a player, USC is known as tailback U. If your a RB and USC come calling you’d be dumb not to answer. Remember now ppl, Oregon been popular as of late cause of Mariota and their uniforms, other then that who has Oregon really put out to the next level… Locals have been on that Oregon bandwagon so hard they forgot the 2 schools that run the Pac12… Stanford & USC…. good pick Vae, USC only recruit 4-5 star players and your one of them…. FightOn….

  23. susume February 4, 2016 11:55 am

    Marcus u make like oregon is the only school hawaii should cater too… lol oregon could care less. Its just u buddy that needs to get over it…

  24. Marcus February 4, 2016 1:12 pm

    Hiro: I think you’re a little mistaken on RB success. Oregon has more RBs in the NFL right now than any other school and has led the Pac-10/12 in rushing every year for over a decade. Once again, my issue isn’t him going to USC it’s how he treated and misled the coaches who put their faith in him.

  25. phILHarmonic February 4, 2016 2:03 pm

    Sometimes integrity is tough thing to understand and even harder to possess. which is what i think your point is marcus. i get it.
    probably wont be the last time it happens
    i have many friends that are USC fans and they are so obnoxious
    guess i now have a reason to cheer on the trojans

  26. hiro February 4, 2016 4:10 pm

    Marcus: again, who has Oregon produced? Blount? KR/PR dnt count. Maybe their on a roster but not productive. As far as leading in rushing what came out of that? Historically USC is the where you would wana go as far as that position goes in my opinion. And since you know about recruiting so much, its not official till you sign the dotted line. Oregon knows that, yea its shetty deal for Duck nation but thats recruiting. I saw today the no2 saftey signed with Texas even though he was verbally commited to A&M till yesterday morning. This aint the 1st and wont be the last. Oregon losing their oc could’ve been a factor too.

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