Vavae Malepeai will continue the legacy of being a Trojan running back long after he leaves Mililani High School.
The state of Hawaii’s all-time leading rusher will attend the University of Southern California, his parents told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello, prior to Malepeai making it official by signing his letter of intent at the Sheraton Waikiki, a part of the Pacific Island Athletic Alliance Spring NSD Event Wednesday morning.
Malepeai chose the Trojans over Oregon, whom Malepeai had been verbally committed to until a visit to Los Angeles this weekend swayed him to sign his National Letter of Intent to the school widely known as “Tailback U.”
“Coach (Clay) Helton, the head coach he really showed me how they wanted to use me on offense.” Malepeai said.
“He had a film clip broken down of what they want to use me as and they believe in me. They have the upmost belief in me.”
Wednesday was the first day that high school football seniors were allowed to sign binding National Letters of Intent.
With state career records as a Mililani Trojan of 4,549 yards and 71 rushing touchdowns, Malepeai will hope to join the illustrious history of USC tailbacks which include Heisman Trophy winners O.J. Simpson, Charles White, Mike Garrett, Marcus Allen, and Reggie Bush.
“I’m excited, it’s going to be a big stage.”
“I know that but at the end of the day it’s just going to be the 22 guys on the field that are going to be competing, and it all starts and practice so that’s my first goal is to go out to USC and show out in practice because what you doing practice you do in the game.”
After posting a spectacular senior year with 1,930 yards and 28 touchdowns, Malepeai was voted as Cover2’s inaugural Marcus Mariota Player of the Year Award winner in 2015.
The 6’0″ 200 lb. four-star running back according to Scout.com had made a verbal commitment to the Ducks back on June 14, 2015.
On Jan. 9, Scout.com honored Malepeai as one of the best prospects at the Army All-American Bowl after his 6-carry, 66-yard performance led all rushers.
During a summer which put him on the national recruiting map, Malepeai was invited to and competed in Nike’s “The Opening” camp, becoming the first running back in state history to achieve the honor.
USC opens their 2016 season against reigning national champion Alabama on September 3rd at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
“We’re going out to win the game and that’s the goal just working hard for that day.”
Malepeai joins Saint Louis linebacker Jordan Iosefa in the Trojans’ class of 2016.