The Star is counting down the Arizona Wildcats’ 2019 recruiting class leading up to Wednesdays’ early signing day. Today’s profiled players: Eddie Siaumau and Myles Tapusoa.
Position: Safety/Outside linebacker
Weight: 210 pounds
Hometown (high school): Pago Pago, American Samoa (Leone)
When he committed: July 28
How he fits: Kevin Sumlin has embraced at least one of Dick Tomey’s keys to building a winning program: re-opening the Polynesian pipeline.
Siaumau fits the bill. He is the fourth American Samoa player to sign with the UA in the last eight years.
The three-star recruit is listed as a safety, but the Wildcats’ only loss from the position is Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles. Scottie Young Jr., Jarrius Wallace, Tristan Cooper, Xavier Bell, Troy Young, Christian Young, Chacho Ulloa, Isaiah Hayes and Dayven Coleman are all expected to return. The safety room will be crowded in 2019, which isn’t the ideal situation for Siaumau if he wants to play early.
Siaumau told 247Sports.com that Yates wants to utilize him as an outside linebacker/edge rusher, the same position played by Kylan Wilborn and Lee Anderson. Wilborn will be a junior in 2019, while Anderson will be entering his senior season. If Siaumau redshirts as a true freshman, he would be in line to play in 2020.
He said it: “I’m super excited and I can’t wait to play at the next level. I think I will prove everyone wrong, but will continue to be humble and work hard everyday. No days off. I’m glad to be chasing my dreams at a great school. I can’t plan the future right now, but I know one thing is that I will work hard to get the spot no matter what.” — Siaumau, to 247Sports.com
Position: Defensive tackle
Weight: 325 pounds
Hometown (last school): Salt Lake City (Eastern Arizona College)
When he committed: Nov. 27
How he fits: Tapusoa grew up in Utah and played junior college football in Thatcher, but is still technically a part of the UA’s burgeoning Polynesian pipeline. He has an American Samoa emoji flag next to his profile name on Twitter.
Defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei recruited Tapusoa, convincing him to choose the Wildcats over offers from Houston, New Mexico, Idaho and Oregon State. Tapusoa was a onetime Houston commit who flipped to the Wildcats in the fall. He recently received an offer from Oregon.
The EAC product could immediately be a part of Arizona’s defensive plan. The Wildcats lost starting defensive tackle Dereck Boles to graduation and could potentially be without 335-pounder PJ Johnson, who is petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.
The UA returns just five defensive tackles, not counting Johnson: Kurtis Brown, Mykee Irving, Finton Connolly, Sione Taufahema and Nahe Sulunga. Of the five, only Connolly played significant snaps during the 2018 season.
Tapusoa’s learning curve may not be very steep. The three-star recruit played against junior college competition over the last two seasons. Tapusoa will be pushed by another junior college product, the 6-6, 280-pound Trevon Mason.
Dallas high school standout Kane Bradford is also expected to compete in camp. Tapusoa likely isn’t going to waltz into the starting spot right away, but he’s an appealing option for the Wildcats.
He said it: “Coaches have shown a lot of love to me and my family and have welcomed us with open arms! Tucson felt like home, (and) everything seemed to fit perfectly.” — Tapusoa, on Twitter
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