Sio stays home, still signs with Oregon State to play in Pac-12

February 7, 2019
Thomas Sio football

Thomas Sio

Anchorage’s Thomas Sio took the old-fashioned way to the Pac-12 Conference.

At a time when many Alaska high school standouts are leaving to pursue national exposure in the Lower 48, the state’s No. 1 college prospect stayed home.

And a Power 5 school like Oregon State University still found him.

Sio, of Bartlett High fame, signed with the Beavers after concluding a star-studded prep career with the Golden Bears that saw him win two Alaska Lineman of the Year awards and earn three appearances on the all-state team.

Bartlett coach Daniel Esparza said the 6-foot-4, 330-pounder has all the makings to be a great lineman at the next level – from size and speed to athleticism and attitude.

“He’s also a tremendously hard worker and the strongest kid physically that I have coached,” Esparza told me.

Sio is believed to be the first Alaska football player who played his entire career in Alaska to get a Pac-12 scholarship since 2000 when Bartlett’s Tui Alailefaleula went to the University of Washington.

“Bartlett prepared me for the next level in a way how college players are disciplined,” Sio told me, “and how to be a coachable player, and that if you wanna play, you got to earn your playing time.”

Sio is rated as the No. 1 prospect in the state and a top-30 center nationally. Other schools to show interest included Hawaii, North Dakota State, Eastern New Mexico, South Dakota State and UCLA. He also considered going to prep school.

Once he visited Corvallis, though, he knew Oregon State was where he wanted to be.

“It reminded me of Anchorage,” he said. “The close-knit community. The hospitality, just the way everyone treated me. It was as if I was already one of their own. I really got a family environment vibe there.”

Playing in the Pac-12 is a dream, he said, and so is going to a college that promotes academics along with athletics. Sio bragged about the Beavers carrying a 3.0 team GPA.

“It shows how well their players are doing,” he said. “Honestly, I really think they have the resources to help be successful not just in football, but life in general.”