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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Evan Palelei, Daniel Godkin look forward to military life

Thursday, Feb. 4, 2010 | 2:05 a.m.

The wake-up call comes at 6 every morning. Lights go out at midnight every night.

And every minute in between is planned out. It's far from the typical college experience, but that's life at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

It's an environment that attracted Bishop Gorman High linebacker Evan Palelei and Palo Verde linebacker Daniel Godkin, who both signed letters of intent Wednesday to play football at Navy.

"I feel like the structure will help," Palelei said.

Both Palelei and Godkin committed to Navy late in the recruiting process, after receiving interest from numerous schools.

They both took separate visits to the Annapolis campus in the last month and said they fell in love with it. Godkin said all doubts about the military lifestyle were erased during the visit.

"It struck me that this is who I am today," Godkin said. "Before, in years past, I wasn't into any of that strict discipline. Now, I know the lifestyle is good and a little discipline didn't hurt anyone."

With Godkin and Palelei on the Midshipmen's roster, they have a total of five Las Vegas natives.

Two Faith Lutheran graduates, cornerback David Sperry and linebacker Garrett Sherwood, and former Gorman offensive lineman Sam Womack already are at Navy.

Womack said he was thrilled to welcome two more. He's known Palelei ever since he was a freshman at Gorman and has spoken with Godkin a few times since his visit.

"I think they both definitely have what it takes," Womack said. "I know Evan personally and I've seen Daniel. They are both exactly what Navy is looking for. They are great players, but even better guys and know where hard work can get you."

A commitment to Navy is more than an agreement to go to school and play football. It also comes with a minimum five-year service commitment after graduation.

Godkin said he understood why that pushed some recruits away. But it was one of the top selling points for him.

"You have to be a mature person to realize the opportunities set up in front of you," Godkin said. "A lot of guys coming out of high school are just looking at the now instead of the future. I'm taking what I think is the most intelligent route to be in the military and be in the Naval Academy. Then, I'm set for life if I want to stay and keep serving."

Less than a month ago, Palelei wasn't worried about the future. He decided to take an official visit to Navy without any expectations — only anxiety.

"There was a lot of apprehension of what it might be like, what the people might be like and the whole environment," Palelei said. "Once I got there, I realized it was a great place."

"The discipline aspect and being able to serve my country is great."

Palelei and Godkin haven't spoken yet, but both said they would probably be close once they got to Navy. That was what impressed Godkin most about Navy.

Through the structure and the discipline, Godkin said brotherhoods are formed between everyone on the team. He realized it during a phone conversation with Womack.

"When Sam was talking to me, he said, 'Everyone on my team, I love,'" Godkin said. "I've never heard a football player tell me they love everyone on their team. That tells you the type of guys you're around."

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