Vegas high school athlete loses mom after signing with Cal - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Vegas high school athlete loses mom after signing with Cal

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Poutasi "PJ" Poutasi, with his mother, Vaelua. (Source: Poutasi family) Poutasi "PJ" Poutasi, with his mother, Vaelua. (Source: Poutasi family)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Wednesday marked a day of excitement across the country for many high school athletes heading to college.

On National Signing Day, thousands of gifted athletes signed on the dotted line to commit to the school they want to play for next school year.

In the Las Vegas Valley, hundreds of athletes experienced the excitement of committing to their future.

For one athlete, though, Wednesday was bittersweet.

Desert Pines High School offensive guard Poutasi Poutasi signed to play for University of California at Berkeley. Hours after he made it official, though, he lost his mother.

"I really hope that she's proud of me," Poutasi told FOX5 on Thursday.

Better known as PJ to his peers, his national letter of intent to Cal was something he put his all into.

"I worked hard for this. I dreamt of this. It was a very happy moment," Poutasi said.

After the signing, the happiness of accomplishment soon turned into concern and heartbreak. Poutasi's mother was not at her son's signing, because she was dealing with complications from diabetes.

PJ rushed to the hospital to see his mother in what turned out to be the final time he would spend with her.

"She was a fighter," Poutasi remembered of her. "She was very tough. She's had it for a while, but, I guess, it just got to the point where she couldn't take it anymore."

On Twitter, Poutasi paid tribute to his mom, saying, "I would give all this up to see you smile and talk again."

"She was my best friend. She was my everything. She was my world. I just miss her a lot," Poutasi said.

According to the athlete's aunt, Vaelua, Poutasi's mother, showed up to all of his games while sporting his No. 70 jersey.

"Every college travel visit he went to, he'd always call his mom," said teen's aunt Kathy Spears. "It was always mom's voice that he wanted to hear, and her guiding him, giving him the motivational speech."

PJ says he will now feel his mom with him every step of the way while on the playing field.

"She'll be somewhere better...She'll be playing with me."

Poutasi's story drew words of sympathy from many of his peers and NFL pro Dak Prescott:

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