6-3/250 Word of Life Academy defensive end Aaron Tipoti had previously been weighing offers from Oregon State, Hawaii, Arizona and San Diego State before his visit to Cal this weekend but after returning from Berkeley and spending a few days thinking about his visit and talking with his family, the 3 star Tipoti decided that Cal was the place for him.
“It was a real cool trip,” said Tipoti. “I was real comfortable there and it helps that they’ve got great academics and I’ve got family there, too. I have a brother in San Jose and a sister in Hayward so even though I’m away from the island, I won’t feel homesick.”
Tipoti had to do battle in the last couple years with injuries, with a broken right ankle causing him to miss all but 4 games of his sophomore season and a strained medial collateral ligament and ankle injury limiting much of his junior season the next year.
The frustration of having to overcome the injuries caused Tipoti to work extra hard going into his senior season and his hard work paid off as he played injury-free this season.
“I play with a lot of tenacity,” said Tipoti. “I’m pretty relentless. You never know when you’re last play will be so you have to make every play count. With those injuries I had, I came into this season really hungry.
“I trained real hard this season with my trainer, Chris Kitowski and he helped me raise my game up to another level.”
The level Tipoti attained was impressive, with an array of honors including Honolulu Star Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser 1st Team All-State as well as being named to Hawaii’s Senior Bowl last month.
The Kalihi native displays his 4.8 forty speed (4.40 shuttle) in his combine videos and puts his athleticism and strength to good use in other sports as well, playing post for WOL’s hoops team as well as throwing the discuss and shot put in track and field for the Wolfpack. Tipoti also boasts an impressive 28 reps on the bench.
Cal's recruitment of Tipoti hit a little bump in the road, as longtime defensive line Coach Ken Delgado moved on to Louisville in the last two weeks, but new DL Coach Tosh Lupoi has stepped into the void and closed the commitments from Houston DT Kendrick Payne and now Tipoti.
"I had a chance to get to know Coach Lupoi better this last weekend and he's going to be great to play for," said Tipoti. "He's a real intense guy."
Before Tipoti continued to grow, he actually evolved from receiver to linebacker before settling in on the defensive line, where he was moved between tackle and end, playing mostly end but always drawing double-teams wherever he played.
Tipoti will come in as a defensive end for the Bears but will also possibly swing inside if he continues to add weight.
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