This absolutely reminds me of Beau Carpenter. Almost the exact size coming out of high school (Carpenter may have been closer to 250) looks really athletic and will obviously need to add some weight. I can also guarantee to you that I will have a tough time spelling his first name, which means that we may need to think of a nickname. I think his nickname is "Big V" so we may go with that, or maybe I'll buckle down and learn how to spell.
Let's get to it.
The Player Speaks: Not a lot right now other than he's committed to Texas Tech. Will update the more I'm able to find something. When Vaitai committed, the Midlands Scout site had this to say about Vaitai:
The Scout.com four-star prospect confirmed with Scout.com on Friday that he had pulled the trigger on a commitment to play his college ball in Lubbock under the tutelage of Tommy Tuberville.
Vaitai’s original plan was to wait and announce at the U.S. Army Bowl in January, but after taking everything in to account and talking with his family he felt that the time was right.
Vaiati has the length and tenacity to be a left or right tackle on the next level. He does not have the ideal size right now, but in time he could be truly special.
Recruitcosm had this to say about Vaitai earlier this year as a possible target of UT:
17. Halapoulivaati "The Curriculum" Vaitai/OL/Haltom City
Thankfully there aren’t many mormons in Haltom City or The Curriculum would be a BYU lock by heritage alone. Vaitai has a good disposition and a long lean frame that should easily add weight. He seems dead set on playing college football with his brothers, who aren’t nearly the prospects. Aggie has no problem with shit like that. See: Bennetts, Martellus and Michael.
And it's true, Halapoulivaati has two brothers, they're all seniors this year, and the brothers are playing guard for Haltom City. Here's a Rivals High article from a year ago on the Vaitai Brothers:
"We've got to work hard in the off-season and stay humble," Will said. "I want to work on my speed so I can get to the linebackers and spring big runs."
Kevin, not surprisingly, echoed the same sentiments.
"I really want to work on getting quicker and stronger and bigger," he said. "I learned a lot of new things this year and I want to continue to build on that."
But the Vaitai brothers don't want their story to end in high school.
"We really want to play together," Halapoulivaati said while his brothers nodded in agreement. "We've been together all of our lives and we want to continue playing together at the next level."
For now, the recruiting buzz is relatively quiet.
Hafley, however, thinks that will change soon.
"They are still just sophomores so there's a ways to go," he said, "but I think once spring ball gets going it'll really heat up."
[Note by Seth C, 05/06/11 6:09 AM CDT ] UPDATE: LAJ's Don Williams talked with Vaitai's head coach at Haltom City:
“He’s very quick off the ball,” Hafley said. “That sudden burst of speed out of his stance is what catches coaches’ eyes, outside of the build that he has.”
Vaitai said he needs to improve on blocking linebackers, both in terms of getting to the second level and picking up ones that blitz. But his coach said Vaitai, who has long arms and a hand-timed 4.9-second 40-yard dash time, will adapt.
Hafley said the Buffaloes are primarily a running team.
“The dropback pass protection at Texas Tech we don’t do here,” he said. “I don’t think that’ll be a problem for him to pick up on. Certainly with an arm span of 7 feet, he’ll be able to do that.”
And Vaitai loves the LBK:
“I feel like I’m going to be comfortable,” he said. “I fit in with the offensive line and I like the program. I like the fans, and I really love the atmosphere.”
The Video: Film don't lie.
Halapoulivaati Vaitai Highlights (via 247SportsStudio)
I also need to encourage you to check out Clip #2, which is non-pad and non-game footage of a bunch players from the Army Underclassmen Combine players being matched up with a defender one-on-one. Vaitai's short portion of the video doesn't start until about 2:53 and you only get about 20 to 25 seconds of video.
Scouting Report: I thought the Clip #2 was pretty interesting. This film lets me know that Vaitai is skinny, for an offensive lineman, but he does look athletic and he's taller. There is one defender that just runs past Vaitai, but you can see the athletic ability. The YouTubery, yes, Vaitai is pretty good and he's quick off the line of scrimmage and he sticks with his block. Again, all I could think about while watching this film was Beau Carpenter and I think that Vaitai will eventually grown into his frame.
Halapoulivaati, welcome to Texas Tech and Git Your Guns Up!
The 2012 Class: Still waiting for Rivals and ESPN, but it's looking good.