Arizona landed its additional abhorrent accouterment of the 2019 recruiting chic Saturday aback 6-foot-7-inch, 345-pound Ahina “Rocky” Aitogi verbally committed during the Wildcats’ accident to UCLA.
Aitogi is the aboriginal inferior academy accomplish in Kevin Sumlin’s aboriginal abounding recruiting class. But he’s much, abundant added than that: The 22-year-old Aitogi grew up in Hawaii and Alaska, served in the Army National Guard, formed as a bartering fisherman and as a rapper’s claimed aegis guard, got affiliated and had a adolescent afore chief to comedy football. He played in his aboriginal football game, at any level, beforehand this fall.
The Star batten to Aitogi, a apprentice at Fort Scott Academy in Kansas, by buzz beforehand this week. Here’s what he had to say:
Why did you move from Hawaii to Alaska?
A: “My mom capital to acquisition assignment and escape from Hawaii with all of the actuality that was activity on there. I don’t appetite to get into it, but there was aloof a lot of actuality that was activity on there like crimes and actuality about my ancestors so we aloof capital to get abroad from that.”
What was the alteration like?
A: “Alaska is so assorted and there were absolutely a lot of Polynesians in Alaska, accept it or not.”
What was your circadian accepted in Alaska?
A: “I accept austere parents so I aloof went to school, appear home with my adolescent ancestors and played basketball aback I could.”
Was that your way of blockage in shape, or was basketball your aboriginal love?
A: “It was addition avenue I could’ve taken. I didn’t abound up arena football at all, actually.”
Rocky Aitogi as a bodyguard.
How did you get apparent and how did you alpha to comedy football?
A: “Out of aerial school, I aing the Army National Guard, because I accelerating from a aggressive academy in Anchorage, Alaska. I had opportunities to go comedy basketball at the Division-II level, which is absolutely acceptable because Alaska doesn’t absolutely get accustomed for sports at all. I did Army National Bouncer for a year full-time and afresh one of my buddies who was arena at Snow Academy in Utah told me to appear out to Snow to try out for the basketball team.
“I concluded up advancing there and at that time I was about 6-6, 6-7-ish because I grew out of aerial school. Afresh he brought me to the football coaches and I concluded up arena bound end …
“Then we begin out my mom had melanoma bark cancer. Luckily enough, she got anaplasty and had it removed activity into that summer and concluded up activity through a absolution phase.
“After a ages into her remission, she had a achievement and afresh two weeks after she had addition stroke. I anticipation ‘Man, my mom is absolutely activity to canyon away.’ She was alone 38 at the time and my youngest affinity was 4 — and afresh I accept accompanying ancestors who were 7-year-olds and afresh I accept addition sister who was 13.
“So I had to booty affliction of my mom aloof in case article happened. I had to footfall up to be the man of the house. I larboard two weeks afore Snow’s summer affected and became a bartering fisherman, and I was accomplishing the Dutch Harbor, “Deadliest Catch” actuality in Alaska. I did that for a brace of months and adored up abundant money to move my mom to Las Vegas.”
A: “We resided in Vegas and I was able to accomplish some access and fabricated my way into the controlling aegis game, and basically I was alive for a clandestine ancestors that took me to Australia on a clandestine jet, which was crazy. I was alone 20 years old accomplishing all of these things, which was a huge adeptness for me.
“I was set to accomplish about amid $140,000 to $180,000 a year. That’s what was activity to booty affliction of my family.
“And afresh I had a babe aback I was on the job so I came aback home. I didn’t appetite to go to Australia, which is 22, 23 hours abroad (by plane) so I went on Instagram and started attractive at artists and actors who accept booking advice in their bios and flood (them) with my résumé.
“Luckily enough, I was able to accommodated with The Lights Global and I was alone 21 at the time. I concluded up actuality the arch of aegis for Lil Pump and at that time, he alone had 800,000 (Instagram) followers and now he has about 17 actor followers.
“Those guys aloof became my continued family. It formed out, because I took it austere and I had my ancestors depending on me. I did that until the winter of 2017 and afresh my mom had some adherence in Vegas and was able to abutment herself. One day she said, ‘You appetite to go to academy and use your admeasurement like anybody has been cogent you to go comedy the sport?’
“I went aback to academy and went to Long Beach City Academy in the bounce of 2018 and afresh Fort Scott recruited me out of there. I said ‘Why not?’ I was active in L.A. at the time and it was super-busy for me.
“I’ve been actuality anytime back then.”
So your mom was the actuality who encouraged you to comedy football?
A: “The adolescence consistently says, ‘Get your bag’ or ‘chase the bag’ and it’s air-conditioned to hunt the bag, but sometimes the accoutrements are empty. So she told me, ‘Hey if you appetite to accompany a dream, why not? You’re young, aloof use the adolescence while you accept it. Hunt the dream, because by the time you’re 28-30, it’s over.’”
Rocky Aitogi as a babysitter for Lil Pump.
What do you like about football?
A: “I’ve consistently been a fan of the d growing up. I was a Patriots fan and that’s affectionate of why I chose to be a bound end at Snow because Rob Gronkowski is one of my admired athletes, and I met him afore in Vegas. He apparently (doesn’t) bethink me, but at atomic I met him.”
What was it like alive full-time as a babysitter for Lil Pump?
A: “It’s a ceaseless clock, really. You get to see the world. I’ve been Russia, Dominican Republic, everywhere with him. As security, you’re there, but you’re not absolutely partaking in anything. You’re like a shadow.”
How did you go from bound end to an abhorrent lineman?
A: “Food. Food absolutely put me there. Having a daughter, actuality with a admirable wife and alive on the road, I put on some weight. I accept acme and still maintained some of my able-bodied adeptness so it transitioned able-bodied for me. I couldn’t comedy bound end anymore actuality over 320 pounds, so I fell into the trenches.”
How did you get the appellation Rocky?
A: “My ancestors started calling me that. And plus, I additionally got into a few fights growing up. It was easier to stick with Rocky instead of Ahina because it’s added trademarkable and it’s easier to say, abnormally aback I was traveling about the world. I didn’t appetite to accord with bodies adage ‘Ahina, Ahina’ and I additionally didn’t appetite guys adage ‘What’s that guy’s name again?’ So I aloof ashore with Rocky.”
Why did you aces Arizona?
A: “I bethink Coach (Kevin) Sumlin from Texas A&M, and he did some amazing things there as far as accepting players to area they appetite to be. And Arizona is aing to family. Coach Iona (Uiagalelei) told me about the needs for the aggregation so I aloof said ‘Hey, why not? Bear Down.’”
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