Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Home News
Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 | 4:59 p.m.
Liloa Nobriga was more interested in playing basketball than football two years ago when his family moved to Summerlin from Hawaii.
Hawaii high schools typically do not play a high-caliber of basketball, so the Nobriga family relocated to Las Vegas to give their son more exposure on the hardwood.
The Palo Verde linebacker soon realized, however, that football would be his ticket to a college scholarship.
After posting a school record 185 tackles and four sacks as a senior in 2008, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Nobriga received offers from several colleges.
Nobriga said Saturday he verbally committed to Colorado on Friday, turning down offers from Hawaii, Utah, Washington and others for the opportunity compete for playing time as a freshman with the Buffaloes.
"The coaches said they weren't against playing freshmen and having the chance to play (right away) was big for me," Nobriga said.
Nobriga took a recruiting trip to Colorado last weekend and committed on Wednesday. Verbal commitments are non-binding and do not become official until a letter-of-intent is signed. National signing day is Feb. 4.
Nobriga was a first-team All-Sunset Region performer last fall and had 19 tackles in the state championship game against Reno's McQueen High. Palo Verde lost that title contest 13-12.
"He just has a real nose for the football and loves to hit," Palo Verde coach Darwin Rost said. "He fell in love with our football program and playing football."
Nobriga still plays basketball, too.
The forward averages 5.4 points per game and canceled a recruiting trip to Washington this weekend because the Clark County School District scheduled Palo Verde to face Northwest Division rival Cheyenne today in a make-up game for when it snowed in December.
He instantly fell in love with Colorado and was not going to miss a basketball game -- especially against hated Cheyenne -- to take a trip to Washington that would have wasted everyone's time.
"It just felt right," he said of his trip to Colorado. "They have the best facilities and good academics. It's everything I was looking for in a school."