Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vei Moala, Total Domination!

When you size up Vei Moala, you have to stand back a few feet for the full view. He's that immense.

Grant High School's 6-foot-3, 330-pound lineman has size 16 feet and hands the size of "shovels," according to Pacers coach Mike Alberghini.

Wide shoulders, massive thighs, but no overhanging gut. He also has an engaging smile and a personality that belies his ferocious play.

Moala, who also was a force blocking up front on offense, had three sacks when Grant beat Bellevue, Wash., and also had three sacks in a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff game. In another playoff game, Moala blocked one punt and on a different blocked punt he grabbed it out of the air and scored.

After first making a name for himself by plugging the middle and helping to stuff the Long Beach Poly running game during Grant's memorable win in the 2008 CIF Open Division state bowl game, Moala figures to be one of the very best college prospects in the nation next season.

And he's only a junior, meaning more to come. More sacks, more stops, more charisma for the popular Polynesian with a shock of curly hair.

"He's the total package," Alberghini said. "A leader, a good person, a good student, a great player. He's everything."

Moala, all of 16 years old, is a national recruit. One college head coach said, "He's the top defensive lineman prospect in the country right now."

Moala receives recruiting mail weekly from powerhouse programs such as Florida, Alabama, USC and others.

He was an impact player for Grant's defense despite every scheme thrown his way, including blockers diving at his ankles or knees in an attempt to slow him down.

At just 16 years old, the so-called monster in the middle recorded 104 tackles and 15 sacks as the Pacers' defense combined to set a state record for sacks in a season with 77. The Pacers' defense on the year also recorded eight shutouts and allowed an average of under six points per game despite at times resting Moala in the second half of blowout victories.

"I have to think about how teams block me because I see everything, and I still have to make a play," Moala said.

"I don't worry about it. Football is still fun."

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