The Oregon Ducks continued to tap their pigskin pipeline of Hawai’i on Sunday, picking up a commitment from the state’s top running back.
Mililani senior-to-be ball carrier Vavae Malepeai jumped on an Oregon scholarship offer that he received just 23 days ago, pledging to play for the Ducks in 2016.
Malepeai took an unofficial visit to the campus in Eugene this weekend, telling KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello, “It was a dream come true, blessed to be a Duck.”
“Once I touched down in Eugene, that just felt like the place I wanted to go,” he said.
After announcing his commitment, Malepeai spent the day putting on a show at the Nike The Opening Football Eugene Regional Camp on the campus of the University of Oregon.
By day’s end, Malepeai’s MVP performance earned him an invite to the fifth-annual “The Opening Finals,” a four-day event with the nation’s top 150 players.
“It’s just another stepping stone and it doesn’t end here,” said Malepeai. “I just have to get better and I’m just thankful for all the people that helped me along the way.”
Also named a Eugene camp MVP was Punahou offensive lineman Julius-Pedro Muasau. Malepeai will join Mililani teammate receiver Timoteo Kalakaua and Kaiser offensive lineman Michael Eletise as The Opening Finals invitees.
Timoteo earned his invite at the Oakland Nike regional camp in May while Eletise earned his invite at the Los Angeles camp in March.
In 2014, “Vae” led the Mililani Trojans to their first school championship, earning Cover2 All-State 1st team honors. The smooth-footed 6-foot-0, 195-pounder churned 1,337 yards on 221 carries with 24 touchdowns.
Following his senior season, Malepeai saw his recruitment explode when he clocked an electronically timed 4.44 40-yard dash at the Honolulu Nike combine.
This spring and summer, offers from elite programs USC, Michigan, Nebraska, and Oregon brought his total scholarship sheet to 18.
Just this past week, No. 19 was upgraded to a four-star prospect by recruiting service scout.com.
As a class of 2016 recruit, Malepeai will join an Oregon roster that is projected to have six fellow Hawai’i high school graduates, including Mililani teammate Rex Manu.