"The game of football is new to me. I started playing my junior year in high school. I went to my first practice barefoot," Fangupo said with a chuckle. "I didn't know anything about the game.
"When I came down from the islands, I asked everyone ‘what was the best school around?' and it was USC. I said I wanted to play at USC and my whole family and friends laughed at me. They said I wasn't good enough or I didn't have what it takes."
Fangupo has proven to be a quick study on the football field and quieted any doubters when he was offered a scholarship by the USC coaching staff on Wednesday and immediately accepted.
"It was kind of a surprise," Fangupo said about receiving the USC offer. "We started calling each other, and then all of the sudden I was talking to Coach Holt and Coach Carroll got on the phone and offered.
"My mom cried the whole time. She knew this was something that I have been dreaming about for the longest time.
"The main reason that my mom is happy for me is because I showed everyone that doubted me that I do have what it takes after all."
Fangupo certainly has what it takes to be a playmaker once he arrives at USC. The 6-2, 320-pound defensive tackle turned heads earlier this month when he ran a sub-5.0 forty and put up 24 reps in the 225 bench press at the JCFootball.com Southern California Combine.
Fangupo, is a high-energy player and feels he is a perfect fit for the Trojans up-tempo style of play.
"I like the tempo," Fangupo said. "I just like the coaching environment. I like coaches that get a little crazy because I like to get crazy."
"Coach Sweaty (David Watson), he's funny and he's straightforward. He just tells you that he wants to coach you and make you a machine.
"As a Polynesian, we have a scream that we do before we go into battle, and he just kept doing it. I liked that because he has been around a few Polynesians and knows how we work."
After accepting the offer from Pete Carroll, Fangupo said he felt a sense of relief knowing that his future is at USC.
"It's home for me. I get to play in Cali and my family gets to watch."
Fangupo will enroll at USC in January with three years to play two.
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