On a recruiting trip to Western Oregon University in late January, Dalles Seufalemua had his teammate and friend Okean Green by his side.
The campus tour, team and coach meetings and the vibe were a perfect fit.
Seufalemua and Green accepted scholarship offers to continue their football careers at Division II Western Oregon University, where Seufalemua plans to major in exercise science, while Green is focused on earning a degree in the medical field with an ultimate goal of being a cardiologist.
“On our recruiting trip, it felt like home,” Seufalemua said. “The players there were really welcoming, and they treated us like family. They brought us in like we were already part of the team, so it felt like home already. It is really good to feel that love because I don’t want to get homesick or something or feel like I don’t belong. Now we get to start a new chapter together and I am grateful to have Ty there with me. I am extremely proud of my brother for that and it will be great for us in the future.”
Coming off a historic 2019 football season that featured the program’s first semifinal run since 1993, Seufalemua and Green earned spots on the OSAA 4A All-State Team with Seufalemua picking up first-team honors for the second year in a row as a defensive lineman and Green chalked up a second-team bid at wide receiver.
TD head coach Andy Codding, who was a 2019 4A Coach of the Year finalist, said that Western is on the rise and WOU coach Arne Ferguson, who helped lead the Wolves to a 7-4 record last year, is getting two quality individuals to build their program to help continue that rise.
“Both of these kids as high school seniors were people that we, as football coaches, trusted with leadership responsibilities and that is something they will take to Western with them,” Codding said. “They were good to the younger guys, and they were looked highly upon by their teammates and coaches. They are just two respectable young men and that is all aside from the fact that they are getting two very good football players. They are both playmakers, they have different skill sets and they are going to contribute.”
Seufalemua had 37 tackles, 14 for loss, with a sack, an interception, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and added a blocked kick in 2018.
He had an increase in tackles in 2019, however, jumping to 56.5 tackles, seven for loss, and had a sack, two pass breakups, two passes defensed, three forced fumbles and two blocks in 12 games.
“I really don’t want people to talk about me when it comes to legacy or all that other stuff,” Seufalemua said. “I just want every kid to know that they can do anything in life as long as they are willing to put the work in for it. They got to grind. Life is a grind, sports are a grind, school is a grind. It takes hard work, dedication and working in the mornings when you are not really feeling it to get where you want in life.”
This past fall, Green was dual threat in the ground game and through the air with 1,844 combined yards and 23 touchdowns.
When carrying the ball, green rushed 106 times for 1,066 yards and 14 scores, as he eclipsed 100 yards rushing in five of the team’s 12 games and he had a career-best 95-yard touchdown in quarterfinal playoff action versus Henley.
As a receiver, Green hauled in 43 catches for 743 yards with nine touchdowns and he had a long of 77 yards.
“There were a lot of times where I didn’t think that this would be possible. Honestly, if I would have stayed in (Compton) California, I don’t think I would be alive today to get to this point,” Green said. “I never thought that I was going to do this, so it really hasn’t sunk in yet. I am a first-generation college student and it means a lot to me to get this opportunity. I have worked my whole life for this, and I am glad, and I am happy to see my hard work pay off.”
It takes a village to build up young children into upstanding citizens and great humans. It starts with great families and solid father figures as coaches to teach athletes that work ethic, dedication, education and positivity can open doors they never thought could have been possible.
Joining Seufalemua at his Letter of Intent signing were his parents, Repeka and Dave Seufalemua, two community stalwarts who have embraced their son’s coaches over the years.
“It is a very emotional day for me,” Repeka said. “As a parent, you pray for your kids to be successful and healthy. This is just one of my prayers answered. It is a dream come true. I am thankful and I am so proud of Dalles and TJ and I am so happy and glad that they have made it this far and are going to be able to continue to play football in college. It is not about just sports. They have to study hard, work hard and do their best. It is important for them to do well in the classroom and hit those books.”