TODD MILLES; The News Tribune
Published: January 24th, 2007 01:00 AM
Lincoln High’s Roman Tinitali-Pula, who ran for 5,300 yards and 72 touchdowns in a star-studded career with the Abes, gave an oral commitment to play at Eastern Washington University on Tuesday morning.
Tinitali-Pula, 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, chose Eastern over Western Washington. They were the only programs to offer him a football scholarship.
“It felt relieving. I’ve got a school to go to where I’m comfortable with,” said Tinitali-Pula, a two-time all-area selection, including The News Tribune’s player of the year in 2005.
“Even though I wasn’t recruited as highly as people thought I should be, they don’t understand how it goes. Eastern is a good fit for me.”
Some Pacific-10 Conference schools showed interest in Tinitali-Pula early in the 2006 season, primarily as a linebacker. That cooled, but the Eagles stuck around, assuring Tinitali-Pula he would come in as a tailback.
Junior Dale Morris, the brother of Seattle Seahawks tailback Maurice Morris, is the projected starter going into spring camp. Seattle’s Jesse Hoffman and Toke Kefu are expected to be key reserves.
“They will give me a shot,” Tinitali-Pula said. “That is all I need. If that doesn’t work out, they’d like to see me at (outside linebacker).”
Tinitali-Pula visited Eastern on Jan. 12, then made a trip to Western last weekend.
He phoned Eastern recruiting coordinator Rich Rasmussen from Lincoln on Tuesday morning with his decision, which will not be official until he signs his letter of intent Feb. 7.