At 6-foot-9 and 355 pounds, Leoneidas Pili catches the attention of college coaches just by walking into a room.
While the lineman looks the part, he hasn’t been able to show what he can do on the field this summer because of a broken bone in his foot, suffered while walking through the halls of Seattle Rainier Beach High School.
His performance as a junior was enough to land him scholarship offers from Wyoming and Idaho, but Vikings coach Mark Haley expects interest to grow during Pili’s senior season.
“He will get something from a major school because he has the size,” Haley said. “He’s improving in his ability.”
Haley has been a member of the Rainier Beach coaching staff for 30 years and has sent several players to Division I programs, including defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu, who was selected by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the this year’s NFL draft.
Haley ranks Pili among the top two or three linemen he has coached.
“He’s got the ability,” Haley said. “It’s a matter of getting it all moving in the right direction at the right time. That comes with experience. The self-confidence is in him now, where he knows he’s the man.”
Now the key for Pili is to make sure he is healthy, so he can show what he can do as a senior.