For Mt. San Antonio College defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo, the road to USC has been paved with hard work and determination. After he moved to California, Fangupo was urged by his uncle to take up football, a game he admittedly knew nothing about.
“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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