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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ocean View's Afusia follows own course to Hawaii

Ocean View senior Kody Afusia played on an undefeated Pop Warner team in the sixth grade. As the years have passed, those Stanton Raiders – coached by his father, Lee, -- look even better.

Kirifi Taula became an All-County selection and CIF champion at Servite. Mason Pau’u emerged as defensive force at Los Alamitos. Christian Maldonado developed into an excellent defensive back at Mater Dei.

Afusia was among the players who didn’t land at a high school football power.

He picked a school better known for boys basketball but doesn’t regret his decision. And as he proved earlier this month, recruiters find players who perform outside the spotlight.

The active and aggressive two-way lineman committed to his favorite school, Hawaii, during a memorable recruiting trip Jan. 16. The Warriors recruited him as a center.

Afusia’s visit included a luau, accommodations at a hotel on the beach, an on-campus reggae concert, a tour of Aloha Stadium and a chance to surf for the first time.

“I felt Hawaii is the place for me,” he said. “Just the people. ... And I love the environment. It feels like I’m at home. All the guys I met for a day are now my close friends. They all feel like my family.”

Afusia also met an actual family member on his trip. He discovered that Warrior recruit David Lefotu of Pearl City High in Hawaii is a distant cousin.

Afusia had scheduled recruiting trips to San Jose State and Montana State but decided to cancel those plans. San Jose State didn’t go down without a fight. The Spartans called Afusia after he committed to Hawaii.

Yes, the recruiters not only found Afusia at Ocean View, they competed for him.

“I went to (Ocean View) with people saying, ‘That’s not really a football school. You’re not going to get looked at,’ ” he said. “It’s really not about how big your school is. It’s if you give everything you’ve got every play – (then) you will get noticed.”

Afusia played hard but also was proactive with his recruiting. His uncle, Tafa Jefferson, and, Lee, worked on his recruiting DVD.

His mother, Tricia, helped with writing letters.

The Afusia family also had gained valuable experience about recruiting through their daughter, Nikole. She played softball at Ocean View softball and was recruited to Arizona State.

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