JANUARY 20, 1997
Tuiasosopo chooses UW as his next end zone
by Jeff Switzer
Colleges have been trying to recruit Marques Tuiasosopo since his sophomore year at Woodinville High School. Notre Dame, Colorado, California, and his father's alma mater, UCLA, topped the list, but the University of Washington is where the student standout will be heading next fall.
Tuiasosopo, a 6-2, 210-pound senior at Woodinville High, gave his verbal commitment to be a Husky last week, where he hopes to play both football and baseball for the purple and gold. And he isn't shying away from competing to be quarterback.
"It's not a problem," he said. "I like to compete and welcome the opportunity to play quarterback."
Tuiasosopo went to UW Summer Camp in 1996, where he proved he could throw in their program. "That was a lot of fun just to play with guys from out of state," he said. "I also got to know the coaches and worked with them."
As a quarterback and free safety last fall, he threw 75 passes, completing 35 for 679 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions for the Falcons. But he especially struck fear in his opponents when he rushed, posting 1,042 yards on 89 carries and 19 scores. The Falcons finished the year 10-1 and made it to the state quarterfinals.
Tuiasosopo said his friends and classmates have been great through the whole process. "They've been really supportive and glad that I made the decision," he said. "I really appreciate that."
This June, however, is the Major League Baseball amateur draft, where Tuiasosopo could be an early-round pick. He plays shortstop and was selected the past two seasons by the Seattle Mariners to compete in the Area Code Championships, joining the few, proud 20 students from Washington and Oregon who played in front of 200 college scouts.
While he has indicated he wants to get his degree and play football and baseball for the UW, the drafts could start him thinking. For now, though, his sights are set on being a Husky, where he says he may study education or engineering.
"I might like to be a coach at the high school level," he said.
After that, a prestigious career in the NFL?
"Yeah," he laughed, "that's always been a dream of mine, but with athletics today, you never know which will be your last game."
Marques' father, Manu Tuiasosopo, played for UCLA and then the NFL, where he played for the Seattle Seahawks for several years in the 1980s.
Like Marques, his sister, Leslie, was heavily recruited after playing volleyball and basketball at Woodinville High. She chose purple and gold, too.
Pat Conniff, a Falcon teammate who led the team in rushing last fall, is also attending the UW on a football scholarship.
"I plan to finish out the school year and enjoy my senior year," said Tuiasosopo, who is looking forward to baseball in the spring and maintaining his 3.6 grade-point average.
Of the numerous honors he has received, Tuiasosopo was named one of Sports Illustrated's top 25 recruits for the nation, as well as Male Athlete of the Year in the daily papers and a High School All-American.