Leviticus Su'a is what is known as a three-striper. He wears a red helmet for Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, that displays three white stripes that run from front to back.
The stripes represent pride, poise and courage for a football program that stands for success, talent and lately some turmoil.
Su'a is a junior linebacker and one of the headliners for the Monarchs, who finished a perfect 12-0 this season, won the CIF Division 1 state championship and were crowned as the high school national champion by USA TODAY and other outlets.
An overly physical 6-foot-2, 220-pound inside linebacker, Su'a on Friday received a scholarship offer from the University of Washington, giving him a dozen college choices while it's still early in his recruiting process.
Others pursuing the Class of 2023 defensive prospect include Arizona, Oregon, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Texas.
While beating a dozen opponents fairly handily and having to share in the spoils on a first-rate defense, Su'a finished with 44 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss and a half sack, while coming up with 4 pass break-ups.
In his finest outing, the rangy and physical linebacker piled up 13 tackles and forced a fumble in a 44-7 victory over Serra in the state championship game.
Yet in spite of all its football success, Mater Dei has been controversial place this past season. The school has had to answer for an alleged locker room hazing incident that left another player injured, put coach Bruce Rollinson in an uncertain situation if not retirement, led to a school leadership change at the top and brought an investigation that is ongoing.
Some wonder if the culture surrounding Mater Dei has gotten out of hand some. It's a parochial school in Orange County that has unlimited resources supplied by a wealthy fan base. The football facilities mirror those of a college program, $11 million is raised annually to support operations and players regularly join the best programs in the college ranks, including quarterback Bryce Young, who as an Alabama freshman won the Heisman Trophy last month.
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