Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Steady Jede A Quiet Leader For Bruins

When you ask Jede Fue how his season has gone, the softspoken senior linebacker for Wilson smiles and says, “Pretty good. I’ve got to try harder.” He speaks so quietly you have to lean in to hear him, which is surprising—if any Long Beach linebacker is entitled to a chest-thump or two, it’s Fue.

At the end of the regular season, the captain had recorded 118 total tackles—only 33 more than the second-closest defender in the Moore League. He’s a tireless player who’s been praised by coaches across the city for his effort and activity on the field.

“He’s a joy,” says Wilson defensive coordinator Scott Meyer. “He’s a great kid and a hard worker…he’s our starting middle linebacker and he’s on the practice team getting every rep in against our first-team offense. You won’t see that very often.”

Nor will you see Fue raise his voice to the volume it reaches on the football field. He admits he tries to be a vocal leader, contrary to his nature away from the game. It’s an instinct that comes to him through his bloodline.

His father, Keli Pula, is an assistant coach for the Poly girls’ varsity volleyball team, and his mother and sister both played the sport (his older sister Deveney is currently playing for Cornell). Bruins coach Mario Morales says that growing up around coaches and athletes has been an asset. “Well it’s made him very coachable,” he says, “which obviously is great for us.”

Between the statistics and his football acumen (he calls the checks for Wilson’s defense), it would probably be a safe assumption that Fue will be spending the next few months wading through scholarship offers, trying to find the exact best situation for him. But shockingly, Morales says he has yet to receive a single offer.

“Well the way it is now, everyone recruits off of the junior season, and last year he was good, but not great. This year he’s been so steady for us.”

Fue’s father has credited his work ethic in the offseason with the improvement, as he worked fastidiously to put on the weight needed to bang inside against the Moore League’s bruising rushing attacks. That effort was most obvious in Wilson’s biggest losses of the season, to Poly and Lakewood. Despite being the focus of a lot of blocking schemes, Fue still led his team with 12 and 13 tackles in those games.

“He’s very active,” said Lakewood coach Thadd MacNeal before their game against Wilson, identifying Fue as his biggest concern on the defense.

Every year you find a player or two on each team that’s loved by his coaching staff, but overlooked by coaches at the higher level—and every now and then, a solid offer comes through and turns the situation around. It’s obvious talking to Morales and Meyer that they’re hoping something good comes for Fue.

“We’d like that to happen,” says Morales. “He just loves football, and he wants to continue playing—I don’t think it matters to him if it’s D1 or NAIA. Wherever he ends up, he’ll be an asset.”

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