June 27, 2011

Vaitai returns from New Orleans

Haltom City (Texas) offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai brought his recruitment to an end in April and has since had an opportunity to focus his time on helping out others. The 2012 verbal commit recently returned from a mission trip to New Orleans where he helped restore homes for families who lost theirs due to Hurricane Katrina.

"I got involved at first through church and my sister had kind of gotten me into it. She told me it was going to be a lot of work and I was a little nervous about it all, but I knew it was going to be for a great cause. It gave me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself," Vaitai said. "It actually turned out to be a pretty fun experience and it was really cool to know that we were able to help out some others who had some rough breaks. I think it was a great experience for me."

The 6-foot-6, 256-pounder has seen the whirlwind of attention die down since verbally committing to the Red Raiders, something he counts as a positive.

"Things have been great. It's been nice to not have to worry much about that whole process. Everyone knows how tight I am with Tech and they've mostly stopped contacting me, so that's been really good too. It was getting a little crazy there for a while," he said. "I still talk with Coach Sonny Cumbie pretty often. We've got a great relationship so he's really easy to talk to."

Vaitai has also spent some time talking with one of his future teammates in fellow 2012 commit Mickey Okafor.

"I talk with Mickey Okafor quite a bit. We've developed a pretty solid relationship so far and I'm hoping to do the same with the other guys in our class. We want to be able to hit the ground running whenever we get up to Tech. I can't wait to get there."

Vaitai committed to Tech over offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Houston, K-State, Missouri, TCU, Texas A&M, and Utah.

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