The University of Arizona football program added a noted 21st newcomer to its class of 2010 today, with the arrival of a National Letter of Intent from Aiulua Fanene of American Samoa.
Fanene, 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, played defensive tackle and offensive guard for Tafuna High School on the island, garnering notoriety that earned him a spot in the Samoa-Hawaii All-Star Bowl and a later USA Football event in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., in connection with the NFL's Pro Bowl.
Fanene, whose brother, Jonathan, is a five-year NFL veteran defensive end for the Cincinnati Bengals, was recruited by UA defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo, who knows the Fanene family after recruiting the older brother to Utah from College of the Canyons in 2003 while an assistant for the Utes.
Aiulua earned co-defensive player of the year honors and first-team all-Samoa honors at Tafuna his senior year. Tafuna lost to Samoana High School in a defensive battle in the island prep championship game, 7-6.
He and several other island players were featured in a CBS 60 Minutes feature, "Football Island," that ran on the network last month.
He is one of 12 children of David and Anna Fanene of Nu'uuli.
Fanene was on the World team in USA Football's Team USA vs. The World all-star game in late January, named to the squad by the International Federation of American Football.
Head Coach Mike Stoops announced a signing class of 20 newcomers and three mid-year enrollees in a news conference on the Feb. 3 national signing date. Fanene now gives the Cats a group representing nine states and the Pacific island U.S. sovereign territory.
See the 60 Minutes feature by clicking here.