HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state's top-ranked prep running back prospect will attend the University of Southern California this fall.
Mililani senior running back Vavae Malepeai, who first committed to the University of Oregon nearly a year ago, announced the change at the PIAA's signing day ceremony on Wednesday at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel. Expected to sign with the Ducks, Malepeai instead donned a USC baseball hat when prep athletes signed their letters of intent.
"What the [USC coaching staff] has been saying to me never really changed. I just never really gave them the opportunity to say something to me," said Malepeai.
Malepeai took a last-minute official visit to USC on Saturday before deciding to sign with the Trojans just hours before the signing day ceremony, Malepeai told Hawaii News Now.
"Once I got to hear what Coach Helton had to say, how much belief he had in me, the impact he thought I could make," Malepeai said. "I know you have to work hard wherever you go, but the the chance to do it at USC is kind of surreal."
Having been committed to Oregon for so long, it would have been understandable for Malepeai to have second thoughts about the decision. He says he is at peace with his commitment.
"I just felt it in my heart to go to USC."
Malepeai will be joined at USC by Saint Louis linebacker Jordan Iosefa, who also signed with the Trojans on Wednesday morning.