Junior college standout defensive lineman Pio Vatuvei picked up a ton of interest in recent weeks on the recruiting scene.
The 6-foot-2, 285-pound former Washington Husky became a hot commodity. But the new staff at University of Louisville had been on him since before signing day and it paid off.
On Thursday afternoon, Vatuvei signed with the Cardinals, according to College of San Mateo defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Tim Tulloch.
"He's done," Tulloch said, noting he picked the Cardinals over Arkansas, Colorado, Fresno State, Washington State and California.
"He's an explosive kid and plays with a great pad level and great strike. He has a really high motor kid and plays with unreal passion. He's a kid who is going to bring a lot of thump and will bring it every down."
Vatuvei originally committed to USC out of Patterson, Calif., High School before changing his mind on signing day and signing with Washington. He played in nine games as a true freshman at Washington in 2012, starting one game and recording seven tackles.
But he was dismissed from the Washington program last July and spent a season at the College of San Mateo. He was named an All-Conference player this past season.
"You don't get too many chances like this, and a second chance for me," Vatuvei recently told Cardinal Authority. "So I am excited and want to make the best of it."
Vatuvei said Petrino and then Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Nick Holt came to his school and met with him before he left WKU for the U of L job. He said once he was at U of L, Petrino called him and "asked if I was still interested and I told him yes."
In high school, Vatuvei was ranked as the No. 43 defensive end in the country and a top-50 prospect in California by Scout.com. He was named all-state and also played basketball at Patterson.