Cover2’s 2018 Marcus Mariota Award State Player of the Year is proud of his roots

Cover2 Awards

Sometimes in life, things all happen at once.

A moment in time can see years of hard work at least begin to pay off.

That’s what this whole week is for our very accomplished 2018 Marcus Mariota Player of the Year Award winner Faatui Tuitele.

M.W.H. The letters are a reminder.

“I’m not afraid to say that I’m proud to be from Mayor Wright Housing in Kalihi, and I look up to all my uncles and everybody who has come from Mayor Wright Housing who has played at Saint Louis and done big things,” he said.

Tuitele has a come a long way. He’s this season’s Marcus Mariota Player of the Year, and his story has not stopped accelerating since he picked up a football.

“It all started when I was a kid growing up Mayor Wright Housing and football was an escape reality, from all the things that happened in the housing,” he said.

At first it was just pickup games. Then he started organized football entering sixth grade and three years after that, as a freshman at Saint Louis, he’d already earned his first college scholarship offer.

That opened the floodgates as Tuitele has evolved into a four-star recruit at defensive line, and the top prospect in Hawaii.

“At times, it did get overwhelming, but I couldn’t have done it without my parents being there for me this whole time,” he said.

Earlier this week, Tuitele ended the frenzy and committed to play for the University of Washington.

“I was about to commit to another school actually, but some stuff happened and I thought about my visit at UW. You know, after I visited UW, it helped me to love them even more, because they invited my whole family from Seattle to come visit with me on the second day, so that kind of stood out to me that they’re all about family there and they take care of their players,” he said. “For the other college that I was going to go to, some things just didn’t work out with them, but I still thank them for recruiting me and believing in me.”

Tuitele won’t be alone. Four other Hawaii boys from the 2019 class will be along for the ride.

“Having them up there with me will make it that much easier to get used to the Washington life,” he said.

A 4.0 student, Tuitele wants to study medicine or law.

“Life is more than just football. I want to build a future for myself, like I said, if football doesn’t work, so I have something to fall back on. My parents pay about $16,000 a year for me to go to Saint Louis, so I want to make use of each and every one dollar, both in the classroom and on the field,” he said.

Right now, it’s a high school field. Soon, it’ll be a college one, and after that, maybe a bigger stage.

“It’s always been my dream, ever since I first started playing football, was to play in the NFL. Watching the NFL and everybody that plays in the NFL. Honestly the NFL hasn’t really surfaced in my mind that much because I’m really trying to just focus on the present and here and now,” he said. “You know, there’s a game coming up, and going to UW after the school year. NFL will definitely be in my mind after that time starts to creep up after college.”

In two days, the Crusaders will try to make history and win their third straight state title.

“We’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the season, but we kind of put that away for a little bit, because we had to handle business before we could think about the bigger picture,” Tuitele said. “But now that it’s here, we’re working even more harder. Our mind is right. We’re making each other better and the overall vibe is positive because everyone is aiming for that one goal which is to get that three-peat.”

On top of everything, Tuitele was presented with his All-American Bowl jersey on Tuesday.

There will be many more eventful times in a future that has NFL potential, but no matter how many accolades and accomplishments come his way, Tuitele will remember where he came from.

“I hope to be an inspiration, one day, to the kids in Mayor Wright Housing,” he said.

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