OREM — As thousands of athletes across the country sign contracts accepting scholarships to play collegiate sports, Utah’s top football recruit will not be one of them.
Orem High wide receiver and four-star recruit Puka Nacua committed to USC months ago, and just finished back-to-back campus visits to UCLA and Oregon. His signing was among the most anticipated, but fans — and programs, including Utah — will have to wait to see where the 6-foot-2 receiver, ranked No. 22 in the overall class, will play his college football.
His mom, Penina Nacua, sent a text early Wednesday morning saying the family was holding off on announcing the decision because they’ve been so busy with campus visits, all-star games and life to sit down and thoroughly discuss Puka’s options.
“We need more time to break down the information and talk,” she said in the text. “We’ve been too busy and unable to find quality time.”
Puka Nacua helped his high school basketball team to a win Tuesday night, but it was his first game with the team since Dec. 8, as he’s spent most of the last two months playing in all-star games and taking his official campus visits.
Nacua was the co-MVP of the Polynesian Bowl, as well as the co-Polynesian player of the year, an award he shared with Alabama commit Taulia Tagovailoa. He also played in the Army All-American Bowl, and has been honored with a long list of awards, including Gatorade Player of the Year and the Deseret News’ Mr. Football.
He finished his senior season as the top receiver in the country, averaging 166.9 yards per game and 26 total touchdowns.
He also helped the Orem Tigers to their second straight 4A state championship.