Former Farrington running back Challen Faamatau announced his commitment to the University of Maryland on Friday.
Faamatau graduated from Farrington in 2017, where he was a first-team All-State selection at running back. He started off his college career at Pima College in Arizona, then transferred to Coffeyville Community College in Kansas where he finished his junior college career.
At Maryland, he joins family friend Taulia Tagovailoa, who announced he was joining the Terrapins last Friday. Faamatau will be a redshirt junior this fall and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.
“It’s definitely a dream come true coming out of high school, knowing that I had to take the JUCO route. Everyone knows that the JUCO route is not easy,” Faamatau told KHON2. “Just with the support of not just my family, but my Tagovailoa family in Alabama, they’re the ones that always believed in me and always continued to push me. Not just football, but also in the classroom.”
Faamatau says he was close to joining Texas Tech, but the appeal of finally getting to be Taulia Tagovailoa’s teammate was too great to pass up. It’s the first time the two will be on the same team.
“Once I found out (Taulia) was going to go to Maryland, that’s someone who I would want as my quarterback, that’s someone who I would want as a leader to lead a team,” Faamatau said. “He’s definitely a true example of a leader not just on the field, but off the field. The things you see behind closed doors, Taulia’s a great example so knowing that I’m going to school with him is, man, it’s going to be awesome. We both are excited and we both can’t wait for it.”
Maryland head coach Mike Locksley is heading into his second season at the helm. He was Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator in 2017 and was the sole offensive coordinator in 2018, working closely with Tua Tagovailoa both seasons.
Faamatau says he’s grateful for the opportunity provided by Locksley and also sees ways that he can contribute to his offense.
“Going there with coach Locksley, knowing he was the OC (when Tua attended Alabama), is someone I can 110 percent trust,” Faamatau said. “The accomplishments he’s had in the past, he did an incredible job there. I kind of like how he uses the running back, motions them in the backfield into the slot. It matches the type of running back I am, so I’m excited.”
Faamatau joining the Terps means he’s finally at the Division I FBS level, a level of competition he’s aspired to play in for years. Even after reaching his goals of Power 5 football, he’s hungrier than ever to prove he’s worthy of his spot.
“Super hungry. It gives me fuel to continue to work hard,” he said. “You need to be consistent and continue to work hard every day. It’s what you do behind closed doors. Going into this upcoming season, I’m ready to go and I’m ready to compete and I’m excited.”