East Ascension RB Sione Palelei commits to LSU

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- East Ascension's Sione Palelei (33), left, carries the ball past Denham defense in the second quarter. Palelei scored a touchdown at the end of East Ascension's drive in the second quarter, putting the Spartans up 12-6.
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU -- East Ascension's Sione Palelei (33), left, carries the ball past Denham defense in the second quarter. Palelei scored a touchdown at the end of East Ascension's drive in the second quarter, putting the Spartans up 12-6.

Spartans RB impressed coaches at Tigers football camp

Taking the ball and running with it is an obvious forte for East Ascension High School running back Sione Palelei. So when the EAHS senior-to-be got a scholarship offer from LSU on the final day of the Tigers’ football camp, Palelei did what he normally does — he ran with it.

Palelei committed to the Tigers early Wednesday afternoon after meeting with LSU coach Les Miles and running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson.

“It’s a great feeling,” Palelei said. “(The LSU offer) was the offer I was waiting for. First, we (Palelei and his parents, Matthew and Ilaisaane) met with (Wilson) and then we went in to meet with coach Miles.

“This takes a lot of the pressure off. Now I feel like I can go out and enjoy my senior year.”

The Tigers are one of 14 schools who have offered Palelei. He is the 13th 2014 commitment for LSU. As a junior, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound running back tallied 828 rushing yards on 111 carries with 13 touchdowns. He also caught 20 passes for 283 yards and three TDs for the Spartans.

Palelei turned heads by running the 40-yard dash in less than 4.5 seconds at the LSU camp. Other schools that previously offered Palelei included Arkansas, Brigham Young, Utah, Georgia Tech, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Southern Mississippi and Washington State. Palelei is listed as Louisiana’s No. 27 prospect for 2013, according to rivals.com.

It briefly looked like two local players had committed to LSU in Palelei and Plaquemine High defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, who was offered a scholarship last month.

Some media outlets reported the 6-4, 265-pound Godchaux also had committed, but Godchaux refuted those reports. Godchaux also said he is set to leave Thursday for a West Coast trip that will give him the chance to visit USC and UCLA.

“No, I didn’t commit (Wednesday,” said Godchaux, who said he remains in communication with the LSU coaches. “As of now, I’m still planning to wait until Dec. 28 to commit. That could change, but as of now that’s the plan.”

East Ascension coach Paul Bourgeois said he was elated by the news of Palelei’s commitment. Former All-American lineman Glenn Dorsey, now of the San Francisco 49ers, was the last EAHS player to achieve star status at LSU.

“It couldn’t happen to a nicer young man,” Bourgeois said. “I think every kid who grows up in this area wants to go to LSU. He’s a guy who has worked hard every day and to see him get this kind of opportunity means a lot for him and certainly our program.”