American Samoa is a tiny island territory belonging to the United States located in the South Pacific Ocean directly east of Samoa.
Three to four-star safety Juliano Falaniko hails from the island of American Samoa and holds the title of the top ranked overall player from the territory. Boasting offers from the likes of Arizona, Ole Miss, and Oregon, the talented athlete, who some see as a linebacker at the next level, pledged his allegiance to the Trojans.
its official . im a USC trojan #FIGHTON— Js〽️oove✨ (@Juliano34733998) April 23, 2016
In what is usually not seen these days in the recruiting process, Falaniko committed to USC before taking an unofficial or official visit. Despite having not yet stepped foot on campus, it was an extremely easy decision for Falaniko.
"USC was a dream school for me ever since I started playing football," said Falaniko. "I‘ve just always dreamt of going to USC. It's incredible!"
Falaniko hopes to get up to California soon to check out his future home. Telling Scout's Greg Biggins that he is "planning to get out there really soon to check the place out." Falaniko also told Scout that he has a "good relationship with Coach Nansen, who was my primary recruiter."
In viewing Falaniko's highlights, I've decided to call it right now. Falaniko could be the most underrated recruit the Trojans sign this cycle. Now, some might question a recruit who is rated in Scout's top 300 being called underrated, but the reality is most see this kid as a three-star level type guy. Falaniko is just so fast and moves so well across the field that I'm honestly wondering how he's not a consensus four-star.
The only possible reason I see for Falaniko not being ranked higher is that he's from American Samoa, which is definitely a unique situation. There are plenty of top Polynesian recruits in every cycle, but Hawaii has always been the main focus in that regard. To set the record straight and let everyone know what kind of player he is and why he shouldn't come close to being overlooked, Falaniko said the following:
"I'm that kind of player that doesn't play around when it comes to working out. I take everything seriously when it comes to football. I set good examples for my teammates and also for those who are watching!"
It truly is a great story as a young man takes a huge step in getting to live out his dream of donning a USC uniform and giving it his all every Saturday in the LA Coliseum.
"Now it really is a dream come true," said Falaniko. "Fight On!"