Introducing the 2006 Class: Saia Falahola

OL Saia Falahola

The Sun Devils signed only one offensive lineman in their 2006 recruiting class. Nevertheless, Saia Falahola exemplifies the saying of quality over quantity. This decorated player was a high school teammate of fellow incoming freshman running back Dimitri Nance. Together they won the Texas 5A title, and now the lineman looks to continue his success with his old friend here in Tempe.

It was no coincidence that the 6-2 310 Saia Falahola started to get recruited by ASU, at the same time Dimitri Nance did. In fact, the lineman received a scholarship offer from the maroon and gold a week after the running back did. "I knew Arizona State was a big school, and being in the Pac-10 and they had pretty good competition," said Falahola. "Dimitri and I have been on the same team from age 10. We won our first Pee Wee game together. So, when he committed to Arizona State, they were up there as one of my top schools."

Much like Nance, Falahola's recruitment didn't really pick up steam until his senior year. Prior to ASU, TCU, Oklahoma State and Colorado State extended offers. "I started all the games in my junior year," he recalled. "That season was really getting me ready for my senior year, and that's when I got all the accolades. I worked really hard before my senior year and put in a lot of time."

His visit to Tempe affirmed all the good things his high school teammate was describing to him in the weeks before. The sense of camaraderie on the Sun Devil squad, is one that recruits have a hard time not noticing. In that regard, Falahola was no different. "When I got there I liked how all the Polynesian players took me in like one of their own," he remarked. "I'm used to seeing a lot of Polynesians back at home, so it was nice to see a lot of them at ASU."

A 14-1season, can be defined more by pressure than pure fun. The offensive lineman claimed it was definitely the later. "We were on a big roll," explained Falahola. "We lost one game, and that loss really got us focused. It showed us that we can lose at any time. So we made sure we wouldn't lose again and we rolled all the way until the championship. No one could stop us and we really enjoyed it."

The differences between the high school level and the college one are glaring. Yet, there's something to be said about a winning mentality that culminates in a high school championship, and its possible effect on the next level. "I know how much effort it takes to win all those games and I'm gonna try extra hard to do the same at ASU," said Falahola. "Even a guy like Jeff Bereuter (another fellow incoming freshman) has won a lot of games up in Irving, so we all are gonna bring that winning mentality to ASU."

Falahola was the best offensive lineman on a Trinity High School team that rushed for 3,100 yards and 47 touchdowns last year. He feels that his pass blocking skills don't lag that much behind his run blocking ones. "Our offense was based on a lot of running, but our coaches always made sure that we do well in pass blocking too," he claimed. "My run blocking is better than my pass blocking, but I'm getting better at it. Everybody tells me how fast I can get down the field. When Dimitri carried the ball, he used to follow me downfield a lot of times. I do need to work on being consistent and never quitting."

Much like other players that were stars in high school, Falahola knows as a young player in college, playing time is far from being guaranteed. "Hopefully I can come in and work myself onto to the depth chart," he said. "I'm always a guy that does what's best for the team. So, if it comes time to redshirt, I'll do it and get better for next year."

The inseparable duo of Saia Falahola and Dimitri Nance will arrive this weekend in Tempe, to enroll in the school's bridge program and start conditioning with their new teammates. It probably should come as no surprise that they will be roommates as well. They're the epitome of a package deal, and they made a blazing mark in one of the toughest high school conferences in the country. Sun Devil fans hope that their success is a prelude to what they will achieve with the maroon and gold…

Recruit Profile

Name

Saia Falahola

High School

Trinity (Euless Tex.)

Position

OL

Height

6-2

Weight

310

Date of birth

5/6/88

Birthplace

Dallas, Tex.

Nickname

"The Freak"

Favorite TV show

"Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

Favorite movie

"X-Men The Last Stand"

Favorite singer/band

"Pau Hana (an Hawaiian singer)."

Favorite food

"Pig (smile)"

Favorite drink

"Gatorade"

Favorite athlete

"Larry Allen"

Favorite pro team

"Dallas Mavericks"

Person you most admire

"My grandpa. He took care of me ever since I was little."

First football memory

"Winning the Superbowl in Pee-Wee football. I was about 10 or 11. I was a big kid back then too. I was dishing out ‘pancakes' then too (laughs)."

One thing most people don't know about me

"I'm a shy guy."

Why did you choose ASU?

"It's a great community and environment."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"Graduated from Arizona State and go into a business where I can make lots of money (smile)."

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