By Joey Ramirez
Photos By Kristen Collat & Jessica Homrich
“People are gonna have their opinions on what people think you should be doing,” Tuileta says. “But only you know in your heart what you should be doing for yourself.”
For Larry Tuileta, sports have always been about giving back, whether to his family, teammates or community.
So when it came for the two-sport star from Honolulu to pick his choice of college,
the answer didn’t seem too difficult.
But after verbally committing to the University of Hawai’i, Tuileta made a late change when it became clear that the University of Southern California was the place for him to make his supporters proud.
For Tuileta, USC represents another way to continue the legacy that he built in one of the top high school careers that the Aloha State has ever seen.
The Road To Perfection
When young Larry Tuileta watched the clock hit zero in the 2013 Hawaii High School Athletic Association Championship Game, he knew that all of the heartbreak from the previous two years had taught him some valuable lessons in determination and discipline. His home team, Punahou, had overcome two years of disappointing championship losses and defeated Mililani for the 2013 Hawaii Division I Football Championship.
In his sophomore and junior seasons, Tuileta led Punahou to the state title games against Kahuku High. Both years the Red Raiders hounded him, as Tuileta threw six interceptions in two losing efforts. The losses deeply impacted the young quarterback.
“I probably took it harder my second year, especially because it was the second time
in a row,” he says. “We lost again; what could you possibly do? Usually if that happens to you in football, you don’t even want to do it anymore.”