April 4th, 2011, 3:00 pm · Post a Comment · posted by DAN WOIKE, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Servite junior Butch Pauu was only given one thing Sunday at the Los Angeles NIKE Camp on the USC campus -- his spot in line.
Pauu got a late start on the day, but that didn't keep him from being one of the first prospects to check in at the camp, thanks to a cousin holding a spot at the front of the line.
While the line-jumping got Pauu something he didn't really deserve, the honors inside the camp were a different story.
Pauu was named the camp's Most Valuable linebacker, sending a message to talent evaluators that he belongs on the field with the West's most talented football recruits.
"I hope I (open some eyes)," he said after winning the award. "I work my tail off in the weight room and in the classroom to be recognized on the field. Colleges, sometimes I feel, are looking for that 6-2, 230 kind of guy. At 5-11, 215, I sort of have to prove that I can play at the next level and that I can play with the big guys."
Pauu holds offers from BYU, Washington and Iowa State. He's also being contacted by a "mess" of other schools including USC, Oregon and, most recently, Minnesota. Scout.com ranks Pauu as a three-star recruit.
With Spring football set for early May, Pauu was excited to see a number of his Servite teammates out at the camp Sunday, wetting his appetite for practice. Sunday also was a chance to test himself against a number of well-thought-of recruits on USC's practice fields.
"Coming into it, I knew these guys were the best of the best," Pauu said. "I knew this would be a good day to compete with some of the best players in the nation. The receivers and the running backs are so hard to cover. It just makes you have to be much faster in what you think about and in knowing where you need to go on the field."
The camp also reinforced something Pauu already knew.
"Our linebacker coach today told us one of the top things we have to do on the field is play smart," he said. "As a linebacker, the physical aspect is part of your job. But really, it’s more the mental part that you have to take care of in order to be a great linebacker.
"That’s a big thing I do. I go home and study a lot of film on opposing teams. It’s starting to pay off for me."