June 9th, 2011 @ 1:42pm
By Brandon Gurney
Bingham’s Jared Afalava is now up to seven scholarship offers with some more likely on the way. He joined the powerhouse Miner program as a freshman and has been a mainstay on its defense since his sophomore year.
He’s originally from Oahu’s north shore and was set to enter Kahuku’s legendary program before his family moved to South Jordan, Utah.
“I was really bummed at the time,” he said of the move. “I loved living in Hawaii, but it was definitely the right move for me, to get my grades and everything else right. I love it here in Utah now, and I couldn’t be in a better football program than I am here at Bingham.”
Bingham’s staff simply knows how to prepare its players for college. Last year alone, Bingham saw 14 of its players sign letters of intent with college programs.
“Coach (Dave) Peck is the best coach there is in making sure you keep your grades up along with making you a better football player,” said the 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker. “I’m so fortunate to be part of Bingham’s program.”
He didn’t know exactly how fortunate he was until BYU came calling during his sophomore year.
“They offered me my first scholarship, and it was something I’ll never forget,” he said. “I always hoped that I’d have a chance to play in college, and I thought I was good enough, but to have a school offer you, that makes it real.”
Utah came calling about a week later with its own offer, which simply added to his excitement.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Utah’s program, and when they offered me, it made me realize that I’d have choices where to play in college,” he said. “It’s good to have more than one option, and especially with a school that I love as much as I love Utah.”
It wasn’t until about a year later that he received his next offer from Wyoming, but now the offers are coming in faster than he ever imagined.
He now holds offers from BYU, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, Nebraska, Oregon and UCLA. In the past month alone, he’s received five offers and is just trying to sort through all of them.
“It’s a bit crazy,” he said. “I never thought that I’d get all this attention, but it’s nice. It’s nice to have so many schools interested in you for sure.”
He’s now beginning the process of learning more about each school that has made an offer. He’s been able to build an initial impression on each of the seven programs that have offered so far.
— On BYU, “I have a sister that goes there, so I like that. Family and staying close to family is very important to me. I like how they have a clean campus and good standards, and I like that they offered me first. They have a good program, too.”
— On Utah, “I’m very good friends with Harvey Langi who is up there, so I’d love to play with him at Utah. Utah has more freedom that BYU does, and I like that about them, too. I’ve always loved their program, and I really love the coaches there. They have a strong Polynesian influence with their team, which is a big thing for me, too. I definitely like Utah more than BYU at this point.”
— On Wyoming, “I don’t know much at all about them so far. Their coach came to our school about a month ago and told me that they had an offer for me. I seriously haven’t heard anything from them since, but if they call, I’ll listen for sure.”
— On Washington, “Their coaches tell me that they have a strong Poly (Polynesian) presence there with a lot of Polys on the team, and that’s a big thing for me. One of my Kahuku boys, Hauoli Jamora, plays there, and it would be cool to play with him. I just don’t know much about them yet and have never visited the school there.”
— On Nebraska, “They have a great defense there and really pride themselves about having a dominating defense, sort of like what we do here at Bingham. I definitely love that about them. Ross Els is their linebacker coach, and I really enjoy talking to him about their defense. It’s definitely an exciting place to play dominating defense, so I really like that about Nebraska.”
— On Oregon, “Oregon is probably my favorite school right now. I have a cousin, Ricky Heimuli, who plays there, and he absolutely loves it. He texts and calls me all the time, trying to convince me to go up there with him, and I think I might do just that. They have incredible facilities, and they’re a great football program. Them and Utah are my top two schools right now for sure.”
— On UCLA, “I’m just now learning about UCLA, but I like what I’m hearing. Inoke Breckterfield is one of their coaches, and he tells me that his goal as a coach is to bring all the best Poly football players to UCLA. I love that he’s trying to do that, and would love to take part in that.”
This summer, Afalava plans to attend both BYU’s and Utah’s camps but doesn’t have plans to go out of state. The reasons for not going out of state are due to lack of finances, but he does plan to visit schools like UCLA, Nebraska and Oregon eventually.
“I’m going to wait until after the season and take all of my official trips that I’m allowed to,” he said. “I really want to have the chance to see these schools up close so I can make the best decision that I can. It’s a big decision for me, and I just don’t have the means to go and see them until I can take my official visits, which they pay for.”