High School Sports

Toa Taua signs scholarship offer with University of Nevada

Lompoc football star continues family tradition

Toa Taua signs scholarship offer with University of Nevada

LOMPOC, Calif. - A day years in the making became reality for Toa Taua on Wednesday.

At the Taua family house in Lompoc, the football star signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Nevada.

It ended years of speculation where the dominant two-way standout would continue his career at the college level.

"It's probably one of the biggest moments in my life so far," said Taua. "Having my family behind me, my rock, they gave me everything that I know and they supported me throughout the whole process. I wouldn't be here without them."

The three-time Los Padres League most valuable player received wide interest during his prolific high school career.

During the past four years, offers poured in, including from Iowa State, a emerging national power from the Big 12 Conference.

But when it came down to finally accepting an offer, Taua chose the Wolfpack, a Mountain West Conference team looking to regain national prominence.

"Nevada gave me that home feel," Taua said. "I can just go there knowing that Lompoc is still my home and Reno can give me that same feeling. I can be comfortable there."

Making his time more comfortable will be the presence of his oldest brother Vai, who is a Nevada football legend.

During his All-American career with the Wolfpack from 2007-10, Vai Taua established himself as one of the top running backs in the entire nation.

In fact, Taua combined with quarterback Colin Kaepernick to set the all-time NCAA record for most combined rushing yards by two teammates. 

Last year, Vai Taua returned to his alma mater, where he currently serves as an assistant.

"They got his picture everywhere," said Toa Taua. "He was a great athlete and he did some pretty good things. I'm going up there and try and break some records that my brother set there."

In addition to Toa and Vai, there will also be a third member of the Taua family with the team.

It was announced at the signing ceremony, another brother, Ainuu Taua, who has spent the past four years at UCLA will transfer to Nevada after graduating later this year.

Now recovering from a knee injury suffered last season with the Bruins, Ainuu Taua plans to play his final season of eligibility with the Wolfpack.

"I think it's crazy," said Ainuu Taua. "Being on that field as kids watching my brother play and about to go up there and finish college with my little brother, I'm just glad we can do this together as a family."

Ainuu Taua was on-hand for his brother's signing Wednesday, taking part in an event he experienced himself four years earlier.

"It's great to see him sign," said Ainuu Taua. "To watch him grow from a little kid, working out with him and my dad. It's a great accomplishment."

Taua Taua, the family patriarch, added that not only are Toa and Ainuu moving to Reno, the rest of the family will head there as well.

"That's where my boys gather their strength from and that's family, so to have the family there with them, we're looking forward to that," said Taua Taua.

For Taua Taua, this marked the third and final time one of his sons signed a college scholarship offer.

For the football loving father, it also signaled the end of an era for not only the family, but also the Lompoc area.

"It's pretty special to me," said Taua Taua. "It's my last son. Football has pretty much been everything for me, so to see him come up and college scholarship, it's just exciting for me."

While it may be bittersweet for the eldest Taua to watch his youngest son leave the Lompoc community, he's ready to see him play at the next level with two of his older brothers.

"To have both boys playing and one coaching and then they have the family number (#35) on both sides of the ball, to experience this as a father, I'm really looking forward to it. I'm pretty excited about that," said Taua Taua.

For anyone who spends time with the family, it doesn't take long to understand just how close the Tauas are and how much support they provide each other.

Now, they head to Reno for the next chapter of their lives, where they'll spend it together.

"Both of my parents, my mom and dad put so much effort and they made so many sacrifices to support us as kids growing up and to be able to do whatever we want to be in life," said Toa Taua. "I thank them for everything."

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