Clemson is in the hunt for the No. 1 prospect in the Aloha State and the nation’s top-ranked linebacker in the class of 2023.
Kahuku (Hawaii) four-star Tausili Akana formally announced an offer from the Tigers last Saturday. He is ranked as the No. 1 linebacker in the country for the 2023 class by 247Sports and the No. 1 prospect in Hawaii by ESPN, 247Sports and the 247Sports Composite.
While Akana waited until this past weekend to report the offer from the Tigers, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound rising junior actually picked up the offer in June when he was on campus to participate in the Dabo Swinney Camp.
“I was very excited and very happy,” Akana said of receiving the offer. “I know there’s not that many people out here in Hawaii that get an offer from Clemson. So, it’s something different. It was big. I was very, very excited when I got it.”
Clemson defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Venables conveyed the offer to Akana following his camp workout.
“Coach Venables, he pulled me into his office, and he was talking to me,” Akana said. “It was after the camp. So, I participated in the camp, I competed a little bit and then after the camp, he pulled me into the office. We were just talking, and then he gave me the news.”
“He really liked how I could move at my height, being at 6-4.5, and be able to move, drop into coverage and rush off the edge,” Akana added.
Akana made the trip to Clemson with his father, and both came away impressed by the coaching staff as well as the facilities.
“The facilities were very nice, and the coaches, they’re very welcoming,” Akana said. “When I got there, they were all waiting there at the door. Meeting all of them was very good.”
Head coach Dabo Swinney left a great impression on the elite recruit.
“He’s a very cool guy,” Akana said. “He cares about his players, and I just thought that was very cool. Because coming in sometimes as a freshman, I know some colleges, when you’re a freshman, it’s just a little different compared to the seniors and stuff. But he just stood out to me in a way.”
Akana and his father also traveled to Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Utah and BYU in June.
Akana, who has accumulated around 30 total offers, said Clemson is “definitely” in his top 10 and he wants to get back on campus for a game-day visit this season.
As things stand now, Akana added, he is “still just taking in the process” and is “still open to all schools.”
“I just really want to find a place where the coaching staff is great, they can develop me to the next level, on and off the field, and just a place that will be like home to me,” he said.
Akana played his sophomore season in 2020 at Wasatch High School in Heber City, Utah, after high school fall sports in Hawaii were postponed due to COVID, and he will once again play in Utah this season.
Akana’s sister, Keonilei, originally signed with the Southern Cal women’s volleyball program but played her freshman season in 2020 at Nebraska.