Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Larry Tuileta, the star quarterback from Punahou, has chosen to attend the University of Southern California over the University of Hawaii.
Tuileta made the decision public during the NCAA letter of intent signing event at the Pacific Island Athletic Association at the Sheraton, Wednesday morning.
Tui will play both football and volleyball for the Trojans, but he says he made the choice based on circumstances outside of sports.
"I had to make it realistic that if I wasn't playing any sports, maybe got a season ending injury in my first year of playing, what would happen?" says Tuileta. "I think going away is just a way for me to grow as a person, if I wasn't to play sports."
Tuileta's decision wasn't a total shock. The Trojans offered him a preferred walk-on opportunity in the 25th hour. What was jarring, was the manner in which the decision was made.
Sitting in front of plaque bearing his name as well as the logo for the Rainbow Warriors, Tuileta didn't make any early indication that the LOI he was signing was to anywhere else but UH. However, after signing his letter of intent, Tui congratulated friends and family, paused for several moments, and then revealed a USC hat from under the table in front of him.
It was a move uncharacteristic of the humble and respectful Tuileta, but he says the decision was not an easy one and admits bypassing a full scholarship from the Rainbow Warriors was one he mulled over until Wednesday morning.
"Norm Chow and his staff, they're great people. A great staff. They gave me a great opportunity," said Tuileta, "but in the end it really came down to weighing all my options and discussing it with my parents. They're two really great programs, but I went with my gut feeling."