FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- Growing up, Jared Pulu always looked forward to Friday nights at Federal Way (Wash.).
It started with his oldest brother, J.R. Then it was Andru’s turn before Jordan stepped into the role of family standout for the Eagles.
As each brother worked his way through the program, the youngest watched and waited.
“I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to come here," the 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker said. “I just get to play for my city. Each and every one of my family members came through here, so it’s pretty cool.”
With Andru, a junior, and Jordan, a freshman, playing for Eastern Washington, Jared was given his chance to step into a starting role during his sophomore season.
“I’m not going to lie, coming into this season it was a lot of pressure,” Pulu said. “My brothers both played college football. They’re both really well known around here.”
But, once he put on his pads and stepped onto the field, he felt comfortable. The Eagles’ coaching staff started him at inside linebacker. He blossomed. He became a key contributor on a team that played its way to the Class 4A quarterfinals.
“Once you get into the swing of things, you forget all about that,” Pulu said. “It’s just cool to have fun out here with the team.”
There was no shortage of football in his family growing up, but Pulu insists his older brothers didn’t pick on him when he was younger. Instead, when they learned things they thought would help their sibling, they took the technique home and shared it.
“We used to be rough a lot, but it’s pretty cool, though,” Pulu said. “They would just learn things on the fly and then try and teach me as I was growing up.”
No matter the age difference, the brothers took turns being tackling dummies. Their success showed Pulu what is possible through hard work.
“Growing up, those were my heroes,” he said. “I really looked up to them. I’m just going to keep working, just put my head down and move forward.”
His brothers set a lofty standard that pushes Pulu.
“If I do get better than them, that’s the biggest honor, but I’m just going to try to keep working and see if I can get there,” he said. “That’s my benchmark. Once I reach that, I’m going to try and reach even higher.”
While teammate and fellow sophomore Chico McClatcher has already landed an offer from Washington, Pulu is still looking to land on the radar of college coaches.
“I’ve always wanted to go to college, for free, too,” said Pulu, who has been contacted by Eastern Washington. “That would be pretty cool to get a scholarship.”
The Federal Way coaching staff said he has the potential to be the best of the brothers, which means it won’t be long before coaches start calling.
“I know I want to keep it in the Pac-12,” he said. “I just want to be close to home. That’s really all I’m worried about, so I can come watch these games too with my old high school teammates.”
After waiting most of his life to put on a blue-and-white uniform, the rest of his high school career will go quickly. He plans to make the most of it, while working toward a scholarship.
“I just try and play every play like it’s my last and just leave my heart out on the field,” he said. “That’s all I can really ask of myself.”