Jason Eck and the new Idaho staff have done an excellent job of bringing high level talent to Moscow, ID this offseason. The Vandals have landed multiple top contributors from the FCS and FBS level over the past few weeks. The defense gained another immediate impact player as former USC linebacker Juliano Falaniko announced his commitment to the Vandals on social media.
Samoa Muamua Le Atua ????. V’z up baby! let’s go to work ? pic.twitter.com/YM4fgkrpEb
— Juliano Falaniko ?? (@julianofalaniko) May 4, 2022
Falaniko was a 3-star prospect out of Pago Pago, American Samoa and ranked as a Top-25 inside linebacker in the class of 2017. He was the #1 prospect out of American Samoa and ranked as a Top-500 player in the country. Falaniko was selected as a two-time 1st Team Samoa High School Athletic Association All-American and was named the MVP of the All-Poly Camp as a senior. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker committed to USC over other Power-5 programs including Oregon, Ole Miss, Michigan, & Arizona.
Falaniko was able to see the field immediately at USC after seeing action in 12 games as a true freshman. Over his career at USC Falaniko saw action in 28 games and totaled 22 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sack, and 1 fumble recovery. Injuries kept Falaniko sidelined for most of the 2018 and 2020 seasons, which impacted his overall production for the Trojans. He announced his transfer in December of 2021 and will have one year of eligibility for the Vandals as a graduate transfer.
The Vandals had a major question mark at the outside linebacker and edge rusher spot entering the offseason after the loss of 2021 sack leader Charles Akanno. Falaniko will offer much needed experience to the position as the only upperclassmen for the Vandals at the edge rusher position. He joins Dylan Bartels, Jason Beck, and Caleb Menzel at the outside linebacker spot for the 2022 season.
Idaho opens the 2022 season against PAC-12 contender Washington State in Pullman, WA on September 3rd.