The Houston Cougars had a big day on the recruiting trail on Wednesday, getting a couple of JUCO midterm signees, but they also gained the pledge of Gardena (CA) standout offensive lineman Emerald Faletuipapai who decided to pull the trigger and commit to Houston on Wednesday afternoon.
The Cougars have been after Faletuipapai for a while but wasn't until recently that they decided offer him a scholarship. The relationship he built with special teams coordinator and inside receivers coach Jamie Christian played a big hand in landing the big man's commitment.
"Houston has actually been recruiting me since this spring," the 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive lineman said. "Coach (Jamie) Christian came to my school during spring ball to check me out and that's when we started talking. I didn't really know too much about the school, so I did my research and I liked what I found about Houston."
Faletuipapai says he found what he was looking for with the Houston Cougars and is happy with what he's learned thus far.
"The coaches," Faletuipapai said of what he loved about Houston. "I know a few people who are affiliated with coach Christian and we've been talking for a while, he told me that the head coach wanted to meet me and I thought he was just joking but that's what really made me want to commit was seeing the head coach really interested in me. Coach Christian came to visit one day and he brought coach (Tony) Levine with him and coach Levine actually offered me right there on the spot."
More than just the relationships he has built with the coaches, Faletuipapai believes that the University of Houston can set him up for his future as well.
"It was also academics," he said. "Coach Levine told me about how I could continue my long term goals at Houston and just getting my degree is the number one goal for going to Houston. I'll probably go to college for journalism and maybe do something with sports; I'm definitely looking forward to getting a good job after school."
Faletuipapai will visit not only Houston for the first time in January during his official visit, but it will also mark the first time the talented offensive lineman has even visited the state of Texas, but he is excited to start his future at Houston.
"I'm 100-percent coming to Houston," he said.
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