football Edit

USC hopes to add Suguturaga in 2019

Miki Suguturaga is listed as a weak-side defensive end by Rivals.com but he’s not a typical prospect at that position. Many high schoolers listed at that spot are almost certain to become stand up pass rushers at the college level. At 6-foot-5 and 250-pounds, Suguturaga will likely add weight and play with his hand on the ground in the future.

And he has plenty of time to get bigger. That’s because the senior at Punahou HS in Honolulu, Hawaii plans to go into the Mormon Missionary Program before enrolling in college. That means that this prospect from the class of 2017 will likely be a college freshman in 2019.

The colleges that are still recruiting Suguturaga are all okay with offering him a scholarship and then waiting for two years before he arrives on campus. And Suguturaga is still considering a decent amount of schools.

“It’s kind of a big group to be honest,” Suguturaga told TrojanSports.com. “It’s Hawaii, San Diego State, Army, Virginia, Utah, Washington State and Arizona State.”

He plans to narrow that list down even further soon.

“Sometime before my next visit,” Suguturaga said when asked when he would name favorites. “I would say top five.”

A few of those schools have already been locked in for official visits. Suguturaga took an official visit to Virginia during the first week of December. He also has visits to two Pac-12 schools planned for January.

“I have visits to Washington State and Utah in January,” Suguturaga said. “January 13 to the 15th should be Washington State and January 27th to the end of January is Utah.”

He’ll try to visit all of his favorite schools but he isn’t sure that’s a possibility yet.

“It’s going to be hard to squeeze all five in because I’m participating in the Polynesian Bowl on the 21st of January,” Suguturaga said. “And a lot of visits I really want to take are on the same dates as Washington State and Utah. So I’m still trying to figure out a way to fit two more or one more in at least just to check out some other schools and kind of get a feel of other places.”

He took an official visit to Virginia because of how comfortable he is with that coaching staff.

“It’s far East Coast, I just wanted to go check it out and see how it is over there,” Suguturaga said. “The coaches, they’re from BYU and I’m LDS, so I’m mormon as well. And I just had a feeling to go out and go visit them. A lot of them are from here, Coach Robert Anae and Coach Mark Atuaia, they’re from Hawaii. So that also kind of made me feel like I should go there and check it out.”

Coaches at Utah and Washington State have also worked hard to make Suguturaga feel comfortable and important.

“They already had dates set up for me to come,” Suguturaga said. “Them wanting me to come and visit and setting up dates just made me feel like I’m important to them. They want me to come and visit. And again, they’re really good schools.”

When asked if Utah, Virginia and Washington State would be in his final list of favorites, Suguturaga replied with “probably, yes.”

Another school, Pac-12 powerhouse USC, also has to be mentioned when talking about this prospect. When asked about other schools that are involved but haven’t yet offered a scholarship, Suguturaga mentions the Trojans.

“I’m not really sure but I’ve been talking to some schools that would like to but after because I’m going on my mission right out of high school,” Suguturaga said. “I’m trying to go on my mission for the LDS church. And what happened was I was talking to USC and they would like to offer me but afterwards, after a mission and everything.”

The idea to go on a mission may have hurt his chances with some of the country’s best football programs. There are a couple of schools that were once showing heavy interest in Suguturaga and are not anymore. But it hasn’t really hurt his chances of being a Trojan. Johnny Nansen is recruiting him to USC and they’ve been in contact regularly. Nansen and Suguturaga last spoke right before the recruiting dead period.

And even without holding a scholarship offer from USC, Suguturaga says he’s considering the Trojans still.

“Yeah I think so,” Suguturaga said when asked if he was considering USC. “Just from talking to the coaches and also my coaches at Punahou, they really encourage me to keep an eye open and just an open mind in choosing a school and see where I fit best. If USC does seem to be one of those schools for me, I think that would maybe be a school I would like to go to.”

But USC will have to convince him to wait before signing a letter of intent.

“I’m just kind of thinking of like signing and committing before I go on my mission,” Suguturaga said. “Because, and it’s not only that, it’s not only USC but just thinking that going on a mission and being gone for two years, a lot can happen in two years. Especially with coaching staffs and overall, general people going to different schools and whatnot. I think the biggest thing about going on a mission is whether or not I feel like I can fit in afterwards.”

He does acknowledge that there’s still a chance he won’t make a college commitment in 2017.

“Yeah, that could be a possibility too,” Suguturaga said when asked if he could wait. “Just because of the fact that two years is a long time and a lot can change. So that is a big factor of whether or not to choose to sign or just wait.”

But even if he does makes a commitment in the coming weeks, he may end up playing for a completely different school in 2019.

“From what I’ve heard, you can sign but as long as you haven’t gone to that school yet, you’re not fully committed to it,” Suguturaga said. “So from what I’ve heard from other coaches and asking about that is that you can sign but for the two years that you’re gone you’re not actually going to that school. So I think what they’re saying is when you come back you can change schools I guess. I’m not really sure.”

So with so much to consider, Suguturaga says he wants to put his upcoming decision in the hands of his God.

“I think just a lot of thought and for me, prayer, trying to figure out where the Heavenliest Father wants me to go,” Suguturaga said. “I’m a pretty religious guy so a lot of thought and prayer. And listening to God, what he wants from me and what I choose is best to do.”

And after already spending a lot of time on thought and prayer, Suguturaga knows what he’s looking for when he does choose a school.

“First of all, the place that I feel I would fit best, that I feel like I would be a big part of, or not really a big part of but more of a contributor to” Suguturaga said. “Academics as well of athletics. Just like that feeling, I don’t know I feel like I’ll have a feeling where I would feel the best in and where I could contribute the most.”