Mesa Skyline nose tackle Kolo Uasike had something waiting for him after graduation ceremonies that drove him:

A football scholarship to UNLV.

Left out of the Signing Day festivities in February, Uasike motivated himself in the classroom to raise his core grade-point average and qualify academically.

He signed his letter on Thursday.

“The opportunity came and I took it,” the 6-foot, 300-pound Uasike said. “I’d be dumb if I didn’t.”

Uasike said he had a couple of other offers, but they were not Division I.

“A lot of it was my grades,” he said. “I got that situation taken care of.

“If I came out of graduation with everything I needed to done, I had it (UNLV scholarship) ready to go.”

Skyline coach Angelo Paffumi said several top NCAA Division I programs were close to offering, but because he wasn’t able to qualify until late, they backed off.

“UNLV got a steal,” Paffumi said. “Kolo was the best defensive tackle in the state the last two years, hands down. He was our region MVP as a D-lineman, which shows how dominant he was and was voted to the Super 25 team by the coaches.”

Uasike also was a pretty dominant wrestler. He went 27-0 with all pins on his way to being the 6A Conference state champion.

“If Kolo stays focused, he will be a dominant force for them,” Paffumi said.

Uasike had 150 tackles and 15 sacks in his Skyline varsity football career.

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