Sunday, January 31, 2010

Say Aloha to Hawai'i


Texas, Florida and Louisiana are known as the traditional high school football factories.

But none produces talent quite like Hawaii. Neither does any other state.

On a per capita basis, Hawaii produced the most players on Football Bowl Subdivision rosters in 2009, a Tulsa World analysis shows.

The Aloha State sent 3.8 players on to major college football teams per 1,000 boys age 15-19. That’s 50 percent more than the No. 2 state, Louisiana (2.5). Per capita, Honolulu is the top producing metro area (4.6), with almost 40 percent more than second-place New Orleans (3.2).

“Football is a big part of the Polynesian way of life,” said Jeremy Crabtree, the national recruiting editor for Rivals.com. “That’s why we see how well they support things.”

The top states producing recruits per capita


1.
Hawaii
2. Louisiana
3. Florida
4. Alabama
5. Georgia
6. Texas
7. Ohio
8. Mississippi
9. Nebraska
10. Washington, D.C.


The top cities producing recruits per capita


1.
Honolulu
2. New Orleans
3. Birmingham, Ala.
4. Dallas-Fort Worth
5. Miami
6. Jacksonville, Fla.
7. Youngstown, Ohio
8. Baton Rouge, La.
9. Atlanta
10. Lakeland, Fla.


Like football at the University of Hawaii. The Warriors averaged 36,725 fans at home games this year. With a state population of 1.2 million, that’s the equivalent of Oklahoma averaging 105,000 fans at Memorial Stadium.

The state’s football offerings extend to the Hawaii Bowl and a high school all-star game, the Hawaii/Polynesia Mainland Bowl.

The Polynesian love of football comes from a few aspects of their culture, said Steve Lineweaver, the head football coach at Euless (Texas) Trinity High School, which has a large Polynesian population and does a traditional Haka war dance before games.

The Pacific Islands’ warrior history lends itself to physical sports like rugby or football.

Their culture also values family — which is perfect for a team sport like football.

“It’s just what you ordered,” Lineweaver said.

Add in a great climate that allows year-round practice, and Hawaii has the seeds to become the most fertile football recruiting ground in the country.

“In our neck of the woods, Hawaii isn’t what we think about,” Crabtree said, “but it’s something recruiters have known for quite some time.”

Full Article

Polamalu Named to All-Decade Team



Troy Polamalu was one of four safeties and the only Steelers player named to the All-Decade team released Sunday by the NFL.

Two former Steelers, guard Alan Faneca and outside linebacker Joey Porter, are also on the 53-man squad that was selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters.

Polamalu had made five consecutive Pro Bowls prior to this season. Knee injuries limited him to five games in 2009 though Polamalu still tied for the most interceptions (3) on the Steelers.

Polamalu was a two-time first-team All-Pro pick last decade.

Both of those selections came in seasons (2005 and 2008) that the Steelers won the Super Bowl.

Full Article

Senior Bowl 2010 Recap

At senior bowl prac­tice this year the 6 foot 5, 325 pound guard pan­caked Louisiana Tech’s D’Anthony Smith dur­ing a pass rush drill.  That changed every­thing for Iupati who instantly became some­one to keep an eye on. Iupati was arguably the best offensive lineman on the field throughout the week. Whether working outside at tackle or inside at guard, Iupati was dominant. He now appears to be a lock to go inside the first 20 picks. He is fast, strong, and smart.  A great com­bi­na­tion for a man try­ing to make his mark in one of the most impor­tant posi­tions in football.


Seems as though Koa Misi, a defensive end moving to linebacker, has impressed throughout the week including the weigh-in.
Misi who was listed at 6' 2", 263 came in an inch taller and twenty pounds lighter. He was fluid in coverage and in drills all week. And the Senior Bowl he continued his excellent performance, and was one of the standout players. Misi is projected as a second to third round pick, but after his performance, I wouldn't be shocked to see a team grab him high in the 2nd round.


NFL scouts and personnel are getting to see it for themselves just how good Tyson Alualu the defensive end / defensive tackle for Cal really is. Alualu may have increased his stock too. Several times during the telecast, NFL Network's draft guru Mike Mayock mentioned big-motored defensive end as a player he'd want on his team. "Well, you know, he's multi-dimensional, he could play tackle, he can play end," said Schwartz before interrupting himself to talk about a fumble the North Team had just recovered for a touchdown. "Well anyway, number one, he is a hard-working kid. He's tough. He had probably the best work week of anybody we have. Great motor, great kid, played inside and outside. I think he really helped himself this week down here at the Senior Bowl." Throughout the week, reports continued to talk of the 'terror' that Alualu was causing against offensive linemen on the practice field, and Saturday he showed he could translate that terror to the playing field. Besides providing pressure on nearly every play he was on the field, he created some havoc with a sack, a fumble forced, and a fumble recovered.


Illinois tight end Michael Hoomanawanui also is looking good during practices. He was recognized as one of the North team's stars on Tuesday. As Scouts Inc. writes: "He is a crisp, physical route-runner who does not get pushed around and catches the ball well in traffic. We'd like to see a more violent punch as a run-blocker but he showed good leg drive on Day 2 and is by far the best inline blocker among the North tight ends."


It was an underwhelming day for Shawn Lauvao, who was slow out of his stance and lacks core strength at the point of attack. He catches defenders and needs to be more aggressive because he lacks the upper-body strength to be effective. Arkansas State DL Alex Carrington absolutely ran Lauvao over on a twist during drills. Lauvao looks like a late-round pick at this point. That's an interesting take. Lauvao is probably one of the strongest guys on the field but weight room work sometimes doesn't translate to the field.


One question I kept hearing about, especially from scouts who covered the Big Ten, was: “Where is your other client, TE Tony Moeaki?” Many, including myself, were baffled why Tony was overlooked for an invite. Not taking anything away from the guys who were there, especially Ed Dickson of Oregon, who is clearly the best of the North squad, Tony is rated higher by scouts and is the full package when it comes to an every-down TE skill set. It kills me to see his name 7 or 8 down on the TE draft depth charts. He's in the top 3 for sure. Some NFL GM is going to be made to look brilliant by picking him up.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lofa Tatupu donates $10,000 to USA Football for Youth Football in American Samoa




USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels, announced today that Seattle Seahawks linebacker LOFA TATUPU has donated $10,000 to the independent non-profit to assist in its work of establishing American Samoa’s first youth football program.  With USA Football’s financial assistance, bolstered by Tatupu’s gift and support from Riddell, youth football is being played by youngsters aged 11-14 on the island territory for the first time.

Tatupu is the son of MOSI TATUPU, the first native-born American Samoan selected to an NFL Pro Bowl (1986) as a fullback for the New England Patriots. The younger Tatupu’s pride in his American Samoan ancestry and respect for the island’s people and their affinity toward football compels him to further strengthen the sport there.

Since 2008, USA Football has worked with American Samoa football leaders to establish organized youth football on the island, providing the latest equipment and USA Football’s coaching education resources to serve the new league’s volunteer coaches. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, the NFLPA, and the league’s 32 teams.


Tatupu’s gift will be presented by his father, Mosi, to USA Football Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK prior to kickoff of this Saturday’s USA Football “TeamUSA vs. The World” game, presented by Riddell, in Ft. Lauderdale. The 12 p.m. ET game, aired live by NFL Network, features 90 of the world’s best high school-aged football players spanning four continents. Mosi Tatupu is an honorary captain for the World team which has three American Samoa natives on its roster.

Comprised of 77 square miles with 65,000 citizens, there are more than 30 players of Samoan descent in the NFL and more than 200 playing Division I college football. In the past five years alone, the island's six high schools have produced 10 NFL linemen and it is estimated that a boy born to Samoan parents is 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than one born in the United States.

“This is an island and a culture centered around family,” said Lofa Tatupu. “There is a strong sense of togetherness, respect for others, sacrificing for the good of the family, and teamwork woven into American Samoan life – these are the very same values found in successful people and winning football programs.

“These kids deserve a shot, an opportunity. I thank USA Football and everyone who has had a hand in helping American Samoa’s kids enjoy this sport in an exciting way that they’ve not experienced before this year.”

About USA Football
USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, hosts more than 80 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football also manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Poly's Participating in the 2010 "Senior Bowl"



Senior Bowl Football Game:
Date:
January 30, 2010
Kickoff:
3pm (CT)
Stadium:
Ladd-Peebles Stadium (40,646)
Television:
NFL Network
Tickets:
$24, $18 & $10


The following are the Polynesian Football Players that will be participating in the 2010 "Senior Bowl."


Alualu, Tyson
California
DL
Height: 6-2
Weight: 291
 



CAL CAREER: Played all 52 games possible with 40 starts over the last four seasons, including a run of 39 consecutive starts over his final three campaigns to end his career … finished his career with 195 tackles to go along with 26.0 TFL (-134 yards), 16.0 sacks (-111 yards), seven passes defended, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, a blocked kick, an interception that he returned eight yards and 11 quarterback hurries … returned one of his four fumble recoveries for a touchdown at Oregon in 2007.
2009: A first-team All-Pac-10 selection for the first time in his career and a Phil Steele 2009 Postseason All-Pac-10 Second-Team choice who led all Pac-10 linemen with a career-high 65 tackles ... led the team in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (11.5) and among league-leaders in the two categories with per-game of averages of 0.58 sacks (No. 7 Pac-10) and 0.88 tackles for loss (No. 10 Pac-10), No. 8 Pac-10) and tackles for loss … his 65 tackles ranked third on the team overall … started all 13 games for the third consecutive season and played in all 13 for the fourth straight year … won four team awards (Brick Muller Award – Most Valuable Defensive Lineman; Joe Roth Award – Player best exemplifying courage, attitude and sportsmanship; Cort Majors Captain – Defense, Senior Lifter of the Year) with the Brick Muller honor his third consecutive ... also earned preseason honorable mention All-America honors from NationalChamps.net, as well as first-team All-Pac-10 honors from Athlon and Sporting News, and second-team recognition by Lindy’s and Phil Steele.
Game-By-Game: vs. Maryland: 3 tackles, 0.5 SK (-6), 0.5 TFL (-6), 1 FF • vs. EWU: 4 tackles • at Minnesota: 6 tackles, 2.0 SK, 2.0 TFL • at Oregon: 8 tackles, 1.0 SK (-6), 2 TFL (-7) • vs. USC: 4 tackles, 1.0 SK (-8), 1 PBU • at UCLA: 1 tackle • vs. Washington State: 5 tackles, 0.5 SK (-2), 0.5 TFL (-2), 1 PBU • at Arizona State: no stats • vs. Oregon State: 9 tackles • vs. Arizona: 7 tackles, 1.0 SK (-5), 2.0 TFL (6.0), FF, QBH • at Stanford: 4 tackles, 0.5 TFL (0) • at Washington: 8 tackles, 1.5 SK (-6), 1.5 TFL (-6) • vs. Utah (Poinsettia Bowl): 5 tackles, 1.5 TFL (-3)
2008: Had 62 tackles for the most for a Cal defensive lineman since Duane Clemons posted 82 in 1995, but a number he improved upon in his 2009 senior campaign ... named second-team All-Pac-10 ... started all 13 games for the second consecutive season and played in all 13 for the third year in a row ... had at least 0.5 TFL in all but two games ... recipient of Cal’s Brick Muller Award as the team’s most valuable defensive lineman for the second straight year ... 11th in the Pac-10 with 6.0 sacks and tied for 16th in the league with 11.0 TFL ... finished the regular season with a career-best 10 tackles, including a sack and two for loss, plus a forced fumble vs. Washington ... played well at Maryland with eight total tackles, including one sack ... had a pair of sacks for minus 17 yards and two pass breakups in a win over UCLA ... registered a 10-yard sack at USC among his 1.5 TFL ... finished with eight tackles plus a forced fumble in the Big Game vs. Stanford.
2007: Started all 13 games for the first time and played in all 13 for the second consecutive season … paced Cal’s defensive linemen with 52 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss … added 2.5 sacks, an interception and a team-best four fumble recoveries … had 20 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries in the last three regular season games, including a season-high eight stops in the Big Game at Stanford ... recorded a pair of sacks and five tackles at Colorado State … recovered his first career fumble and took it into the end zone for a touchdown vs. Arizona after a Thomas DeCoud blitz on quarterback Willie Tuitama jarred the ball loose … snared a key interception at Oregon in the fourth quarter when the Ducks were driving and threatening to score … also recovered a fumble against USC ... earned the Brick Muller Award as the team’s most valuable defensive lineman.
2006: Stepped into the defensive line rotation as a true freshman ... saw action in all 13 games, including his first career start against Oregon State ... registered 16 tackles, fourth on the defensive line ... tallied a season-high six tackles (three solo) against UCLA and added five takedowns (two solo) in his college debut at Tennessee.
 

PERSONAL: Full name is Tyson Asi Alualu … born May 12, 1987 … parents are Ta’avao and Levaa’i Alualu ... he and his wife, Desir√©, have a son, Tyre√©, and a daughter, Dereon ... has seven sisters, Taimane-Ruta, Tanya, Tasia, Tatiana, Timena, Trinity and Trust, and one brother, Tupu ... relatives who have played college football include uncle Tupu Alualu (Hawai’i), and cousins Ben Alualu (Arizona) and Tyrone Alualu (Laney College) … lives by the motto “God first, and everything else will fall in place” ... major is Ethnic Studies.

Hoomanawanui, Mike
Illinois
TE
Height: 6-4
Weight: 267
 


Collegiate Accomplishments
2009: Played in eight games, starting five … Had one catch, but it was his career-long, a 30-yarder in the season finale against Fresno State … Returned to play against Cincinnati, but did not record any catches … Missed the Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan games with an ankle injury … Had two catches for 18 yards at Purdue … Returned after missing two games with an ankle injury to start against Indiana, but didn’t record any catches … Missed three quarters of the Penn State game and the Michigan State game with an ankle injury … Had two catches for 13 yards at Ohio State … Caught three passes for 51 yards against Illinois State … Had one catch for two yards in the season opener vs. Missouri.
2008: Earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors by both the media and coaches … Played in all 12 games and started eight at tight end … Caught two passes for 21 yards in the season finale at Northwestern … Had two receptions for 13 yards against Ohio State … Caught four passes for 45 yards against Western Michigan … Had a 25-yard reception at Wisconsin … Caught a one-yard TD pass against Indiana … Caught two passes for 33 yards against Minnesota … Had two receptions for 23 yards at Penn State … Caught a career-high five passes for a career-high 74 yards against Lousiana-Lafayette … Caught two passes for 24 yards against Eastern Illinois … Had three receptions and a touchdown for 48 yards versus Missouri … Also returned an 18-yard kickoff against Mizzou.
2007: Played in 11 games, starting five at tight end … Caught one pass for 20 yards against Northwestern … Caught a three-yard touchdown pass at No. 1 Ohio State … Caught one pass for 12 yards at Iowa … Returned a kickoff 16 yards at the end of the first half against No. 5 Wisconsin … Hauled in his first career touchdown pass at Indiana, a two-yard connection with Juice Williams … Caught the first pass of his career at Syracuse, a 27-yard strike on third down.
2006: Played in 10 games, starting three at tight end … Caught a pass to convert a two-point conversion vs. Purdue … Saw action against Northwestern, Purdue, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State, Iowa, Syracuse, Rutgers and Eastern Illinois but did not record any offensive statistics.

High School Accomplishments

Chicago Tribune first-team All-State … Chicago Sun-Times first-team All-State … PrepStar All-Midwest Region … Champaign News-Gazette All-State … Bloomington Pantagraph All-State… First Team All-Cornbelt Conference … WJBC-AM Ron Smith Player of the Year … Three-star recruit, ranked as the No. 40 tight end in the country by Rivals.com … Made 50 receptions for 843 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior … Also, led team with 139 tackles and eight sacks on defense … Lettered in basketball during freshman, sophomore and junior years … High school coach was Bobby Moews … Chose Illinois over Purdue, Northern Illinois and Oregon State.

Personal Information

Full given name is Michael Patrick Hoomanawanui … Born July 4, 1988 … Son of Anne and Isy Hoomanawanui … Has one sister … Father played football for Illinois State… Majoring in sport management.


Iupati, Mike
Idaho
OL
Height: 6-5
Weight: 325




Iupati (pronounced ee-YOU-PAH-tee) earned consensus All-American honors this season after being named to the first team by the Associated Press, Walter Camp, American Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association of America. He was also named to the Sporting News’ second team All American squad.
An Outland Trophy finalist and first team All-WAC selection, Iupati helped the Vandals claim just the second bowl victory in program history—a 43-42 win over Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl. He didn’t allow a single sack all season and graded out at 90 percent or better in all 13 games.



Lauvao, Shawn
Arizona State
OL
Height: 6-3
Weight: 301



  

ASU: Powerful offensive lineman who was an anchor of ASU's line over the last three seasons...played in every game over the last three years, finishing his career with 33 consecutive starts...played a total of 42 games over his four-year career...saw action at both guard and tackle...made 17 starts at left guard, 12 at left tackle and four at right tackle.

2009: Started all 12 games at left tackle...it marked the second straight season he started every game...was one of two offensive linemen to start every game during the season, along with guard Jon Hargis, and one of just six players overall to do so in 2009...earned Second-Team All-Pac-10 honors, the second straight year he received all-conference recognition...served as a team captain, along with defensive end Dexter Davis and linebacker Mike Nixon...helped the Sun Devils reduce their number of sacks allowed from 34 in 2008 to 27 in 2009...helped block for running back Dimitri Nance, who ran for a career-high 795 yards on the season with the first three 100-yard rushing games of his career.

2008: Started all 12 games, the first eight at left guard and then the last four at right tackle...was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 selection...began the season as one of only two Sun Devil offensive linemen with previous starting experience, along with fellow guard Paul Fanaika...helped protect ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who started all 12 games during the season...team won three straight games after he made the move to right tackle, beginning with the game at Washington on Nov. 8...Devils ran for season-high 182 yards in Lauvao's first start at right tackle.

2007: Played in all 13 games, with nine starts...became the starting left guard in Week 5 at Stanford, and held that position for the remainder of the season...helped block for an ASU rushing attack that had three players surpass 500 yards rushing each on the season (Keegan Herring, Ryan Torain and Dimitri Nance)...was the youngest of the seven Sun Devil offensive linemen that started during the season, breaking into a rotation that also included five seniors and one junior.

2006: Appeared in five games as a redshirt freshman...made his Sun Devil debut in the season opener against Northern Arizona...also competed against Nevada, Stanford, Washington State and at Arizona...earned Hard Hat Player recognition for his work in the team's winter strength and conditioning program.

2005: Redshirted as a member of the scout team...earned the McBurney Scout Team Award, given annually to ASU's most outstanding offensive scout team player.

HIGH SCHOOL
: A 2005 graduate of Farrington High School in Honolulu, Hawaii...rated as the No. 6 prospect in the state of Hawaii, regardless of position, by Rivals.com...rated as the No. 35 offensive guard in the nation by Rivals.com ... as a senior, made first-team all-state as an offensive lineman by the OIA...named second-team all-state by The Honolulu Advertiser and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin...was a two-time team captain...received a certificate of recognition from the Hawaii chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame for his efforts as a an outstanding student and athlete...placed second in the Hawaii Strong Man Competition when he was 16 (16-18-year-old age bracket)...won the 2005 Hawaii Strongest Teen competition in April...lists that as one of his most exciting sports experiences...bench presses 420 pounds, squats 500 and power cleans 300...lettered five times in football and once in track and field...threw the shot put and discus for the first time as a senior...two-time Farrington High Scholar-Athlete of the Year...selected to play in the Hawaii Classic All-Star football game...was the captain of the east team at that all-star game...as a junior, made first-team all-state OIA and was honorable mention all-state by The Honolulu Advertiser and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin ... honor roll student who sported a 3.8 grade-point average in high school...was coached by Randall Okimoto.

PERSONAL: Graduated in December 2008 with a BIS degree in Interdisciplinary Studies...parents are Sisifo S. Lauvao Jr. and Faumuiana Lee Lauvao of Honolulu...both of his parents work for the state of Hawaii department of collections...has three siblings: Alesana, Penina and Samuel...his cousin, Saute Sapolu, played defensive end at ASU from 1985-88...enjoys running, weight lifting, movies and church activities...born Oct. 26, 1987 in Honolulu...full name is Shawn Sisifo Lauvao.


Misi, Koa
Utah
LB
Height: 6-3
Weight: 244



 
UTAH: Two-time all-MWC player may be the best defensive lineman in the Mountain West Conference … has played in all 37 games and started in 35 since joining Utah as a sophomore JC transfer … 24.5 career tackles for loss … best suited for end, he can also play tackle, where he started in 2007 … very strong (can squat 545 pounds) and athletic (36” vertical jump) … fastest U. defensive lineman also led the position in the spring agility tests.
2009–First-team all-MWC … started 11 games at defensive end (missed the first game due to injury) … 65 total tackles and 5.9 tackles per game is more than any defensive lineman in the MWC … fourth on the team in total tackles … tied for the team lead in tackles for loss (8.0) and ranks second on the team in sacks (4.5) … 10th in the MWC in sacks per game (0.41) … leads the league in fumbles caused per game (0.27) and is tied for the league lead in total forced fumbles (three) … named MWC Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 2 against Wyoming with eight tackles and two sacks … season-high 12 tackles against Air Force … forced fumbles against TCU, Louisville, Colorado State.
2008–Second-team all-conference … started all 13 games – 12 at end and one (Air Force) at tackle … 68 total tackles led Utah’s linemen and ranked third overall … 8.5 TFL and six pass breakups ranked third on the team … led Utah with three forced fumbles (tied for the third-most in the MWC) … forced a fumble against BYU that led to a score … also had six tackles and two pass breakups vs. BYU … tied career-high with nine tackles against Air Force, including two for loss … eight tackles in back-to-back games against Colorado State and New Mexico … one and a half sacks against Michigan … two pass breakups against Oregon State … won Utah’s defensive Iron Ute award.
2007–Played in all 13 games and started the last 11 … played defensive end for the first two games, moving to tackle when injuries struck … third on the team in tackles with 67 … leading tackler on the line also had 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries … season-high nine tackles in bowl win over Navy … eight tackles, including two sacks, and a fumble recovery against UCLA … seven stops versus Utah State … six tackles against New Mexico and UNLV … recovered a fumble and returned it 28 yards against New Mexico … academic all-MWC.

PRIOR TO UTAH: First-team all-conference defensive end helped Santa Rosa Junior College to a division title and a bowl invitation … two-time first-team all-conference player for Montgomery High School (Calif.) … Defensive Player of the Year … Montgomery went 13-0 in 2005 and won the league title … also lettered in baseball and basketball … honor roll student.

PERSONAL: Son of Kathy Moix, Sione Misi and stepmother Melissa Misi ... father played football for Hawaii … one sister … enjoys snowboarding and wakeboarding … sociology major … name is pronounced ko-a mee-see … full name is Nawa’akoa Lisiate Foti Analeseanoa Misi … born Jan. 17, 1987.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stephenson, Tatupu & Fanene Named Honorary Captains for Team U.S.A. vs. the World Game

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels, announced today that Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphins centerDWIGHT STEPHENSON will join former NFL All-Star MOSI TATUPU and Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman JONATHAN FANENE as honorary captains for USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” game, presented by Riddell, at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 12 p.m. ET.

The game will be televised live by NFL Network.

USA Football’s 2010 Junior National Team – 45 of the country’s top high school seniors – will face a World Select team composed of the best players aged 19 and under from outside the United States spanning eight countries on four continents. Showcasing the world’s top high school-aged players from across the globe, the Jan. 30 contest will follow AFC and NFC All-Star practices at Lockhart Stadium. Admission to the NFL All-Star practices and “Team USA vs. The World” game is free of charge.

Stephenson is the honorary captain of USA Football’s Junior National Team (Team USA). Considered among the finest centers in NFL history, the former Dolphin (1980-87) was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1998. Coached by legends PAUL “BEAR” BRYANT (Alabama) and DON SHULA (Miami Dolphins), Stephenson played in five Pro Bowls (1982-87) and helped the Dolphins advance to two Super Bowls (1982, ’84 seasons). Stephenson and his wife, Dinah, founded The Dwight Stephenson Foundation in 2007 which generates funding for various charitable organizations including The Urban League of Broward County (Fla.).

Tatupu and Fanene, both American Samoan natives, will share honorary captain duties for the World team, which features three American Samoan players including Aiulua Fanene, Jonathan’s younger brother.

Tatupu was the first American Samoan to play in a Pro Bowl (1986). The four-year Southern Cal. letter winner played 14 NFL seasons (1978-91) as a fullback for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams and was part of the 1986 Patriots team which advanced to Super Bowl XX. Tatupu is the father of Seattle Seahawks standout linebacker LOFA TATUPU.

A veteran of five NFL seasons – all with Cincinnati – Fanene was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Fanene played in all 16 games for the AFC North champion Bengals this season, registering a career-high 36 tackles, 6.0 sacks, and an interception which he returned 45 yards for a touchdown.

Calling the action on Jan. 30 for NFL Network’s live 12 p.m. ET telecast will be RICH EISENDEION SANDERS, and SCOTT KENNEDY. Sideline reporter STACEY DALES will contribute on-field insight.

For more on USA Football's "Team USA vs. The World" game, presented by Riddell, visit www.usavworld.com.

About USA FootballUSA Football, the sport 's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, hosts more than 80 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football also manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three Players From American Samoa Will Represent "The World" vs Team USA


American Samoa’s three picks to the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Team that will face Team USA in an official Pro Bowl Week event Jan. 30 are thankful for being selected and ready to represent the territory in the match that will air on the NFL Network.

Beck Coulter, 18, Aiulua Fanene, 17, and David Katina, 17, have been named to the IFAF World Team led by Head Coach Jan Jenmert, head coach of Sweden’s junior national football team.

Team USA, USA Football’s 2010 National Junior Team is headed by Chris Merritt, head coach of Miami Christopher Columbus High School.

The teams are set to play Jan. 30 at Lockhart Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The game features USA Football’s 2010 Junior National Team and a World Select team comprised of players and coaches spanning four continents, says the IFAF. Team USA includes America’s top high school football student-athletes.

Presenting sponsor of the match is Riddell, which provides the official helmet of the NFL.

“Being part of this game is important to us,” said Riddell President Dan Arment in an IFAF media statement issued this week. ”Americans know how football brings people and communities together and the sport has done that for generations...Riddell is proud to be associated with this game and USA Football.”

He says USA Football’s ‘Team USA vs. The World’ game shows “the global passion for football’s excitement and team-first values with athletes and coaches spanning 12 nations.”


Beck Coulter
Current School/Club: Trinity (TX) Community College     
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-2 | Weight 240 lbs.
#TBD | Position: LB




Beck Coulter, 18, son of Robert (Bob) and Tagiilima (Lima) Coulter of Leone arrived in Round Rock, Texas, yesterday (he returned to Texas Sunday), after spending the holidays on-islan. Beck, an outside linebacker for the Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Cardinals.

“I am thankful for the opportunity...I was surprised...I’m just going to play hard to represent our country,” he told Samoa News.

The tsunami of Sept. 29, 2009 happened months ago, yet Beck, whose family lost their home, with relatives having to swim for their lives — dedicates his performance Jan. 30 “to all those who lost their loved ones in the tsunami.”

“May God be with us in that game,” he prays. Beck was in Texas when the tsunami hit. Five days after the tragedy, when the Cardinals played Navarro, his teammates, joined Beck and fellow Cardinal Isaac Puapuaga, to perform a ‘haka’ in honor of the Samoans.

Beck will leave Texas for Florida this week. Possibly three of his family members, including his mom Lima and little brother Cameron Coulter are traveling to Florida for the game.

Beck is a 2009, Leone High School graduate. TVCC, where he is a first-year student, is located in Athens in the Lone Star state. It is a member of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Head Football Coach at TVCC is Brad Smiley, according to the school’s Web site tvcc.edu.

“We’re on a mission to do the best for our island,” said Beck.




Tavita Katina
Current School/Club: Marist High School   
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-2 | Weight 235 lbs.
#44 | Position: LB



In an interview with Samoa News, yesterday, David Katina, the third child of Pastors David and Debbie Katina, says he was shocked and thankful.

“I was very shocked and very thankful to be selected as one of the top players in the World,” David said, “...ever since I found out about it, I pushed myself to work harder than before because this is a big opportunity for me.”

David is a senior at Kanana Fou High School but plays for Fa’asao Marist High School, led by Principal and Head Coach Victor Langkilde. He played in a number of games for the Cougars throughout the season, and was named the Defensive Player of the Week in the second week of ASHAA football.

He is a defensive end and outside linebacker for the Marist Crusaders and is known for his hard efforts on the field — sacking quarterbacks and stopping running plays behind the line of scrimmage.

“My parents are very excited about it, as well as my brother and sisters,” David said. “I already have some family flying over to Florida to watch my game, and to come see me play”.

Katina says a number of colleges are lining up for him.

He is leaning more toward the University of Hawaii, led by Head Coach Greg McMackin.

“But we had some good offers from the University of Arizona, Oregon State, the University of Oregon, and the University of Tennessee,” Katina noted.

David has been selected to play the Defensive End position, as well as Outside Linebacker for the World Team. He played on American Samoa’s International Team that routed the Australia U-19 Outback Squad 49-6, Jan. 2, 2010.

“I would first of all want to thank our Heavenly Father for his everyday blessings upon me and my family as well as my friends — a special thanks to my parents for supporting me, and for pushing me to become a better individual...to my brother and sisters for being such great supporters during my games.”

He also thanks Ben and Josh of the Langford family, and the Tuiasosopo family.

“I would also like to thank our Kanana Fou High School Principal Rev. Iasepi Ulu and the teachers and coaches for getting me through rough times to where I am now,” David said, “and for teaching me how to be prepared for the real world after I graduate.”


 
Aiulua Fanene
Current School/Club: Tafuna High School     
Country: American Samoa
Height: 6-5 | Weight 280 lbs.
#TBD | Position: DL


Samoa News also had the opportunity to talk to Tafuna High School’s Aiulua Fanene, senior offensive guard and defensive end for the Warriors. He said he “feels great” about being selected and calls it a “blessing.”

“I feel great, this is an opportunity that most players are looking for, and I guess it was just a blessing to be amongst the best in the World,” said Aiulua who was featured alongside his big brother Jonathan Fanene — on the CBS 60 Minutes segment “American Samoa: Football Island.”

Aiulua is the tenth child of David and Anna Fanene of Nu’uuli and Malaeimi.

He is a senior at Tafuna High School. He was a starting offensive guard for the American Samoa All Star team that beat Hawaii 23-20 in the 2010 Samoa Bowl VII, Jan. 1, 2010.

Samoa News asked Aiulua on the position that he has been selected to play for.

“They are putting me at offensive guard and defensive end,” he said. “I have worked hard ever since I knew about the selection, and I have worked myself into new and better techniques on the line.”

He thanks his parents for their efforts in pushing him to become a better person.

“I want to thank my parents for their hard efforts in pushing me to become the better person, and to teaching me how to be patient and supportive,” said Aiulua. “I also want to thank my teachers in Tafuna High School for pushing me beyond the limit of expectations, education -wise, and to my coaches for helping me work toward my goal.”

David and Aiulua depart the island Thursday for Florida.

Kick-off is set for 12 p.m. Eastern Time. The game will air after AFC and NFC All-Star practices in Lockhart Stadium and both events are free of charge. NFL Network will televise the game.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Highland Alum Ngata Headed to His First Pro Bowl


 

Last season, Salt Lake City native Haloti Ngata and the Baltimore Ravens had to adjust to first-year coach John Harbaugh, who took over for Brian Billick.

This season, the major change has been with new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. He replaced Rex Ryan, who became the head coach of the New York Jets.

"Mattison is a lot skinnier and Rex has more hair," Ngata said with a laugh.
But defensive tackle Ngata, who has been named to his first Pro Bowl, and the Ravens are making their second straight playoff appearance and consistently have one of the top defenses in the NFL.

"We are getting used to another," Ngata, a Highland High graduate, said of Mattison. "At the beginning, we didn't know what he was going to call and he didn't know us as well. We know what he is going to do now. The more time you have together, it helps."

It certainly helped last Sunday as the Ravens, playing on the road, shut down Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in a stunning 33-10 wild card win. Tonight, Ngata and his teammates face perhaps the other top quarterback of the past 10 years in Peyton Manning of the Colts in Indianapolis.

"I don't think we want to change too much of what we do well," Ngata said. "You get out of sync a little by doing that. I think we will do what we usually do and get to the quarterback as fast as we possibly can."
Ngata said Mattison relies a lot on a three-man pass rush.

"That puts a lot of pressure on our defensive line. We know what he wants out of us," Ngata said. "We have been more comfortable and better as a defense. Whatever he wants me to do, I am willing to do. Now we are a defense where we trust the defensive coordinator."

Ngata had 41 tackles during regular-season play. He was a first-round pick in 2006 by the Ravens out of Oregon.

"He is a difference maker for us," Eric DeCosta, the director of player personnel for the Ravens, said Tuesday. "He plays very hard. He is a great teammate. He is a difference-maker in the running game."

Other Ravens with Utah ties include reserve quarterback John Beck (BYU), offensive lineman David Hale (Weber State, Plain City) and nose tackle Kelly Talavou (Utah). Talavou had one tackle in regular-season play.
Ravens' tight end coach Wade Harman played and coached at Utah State. Bob Rogucki, the Ravens' strength and conditioning coach, held the same spot at Weber State in 1982. Craig Ver Steeg, an offensive assistant, was an offensive coordinator at Utah from 2001-02. He also helped recruit quarterback Alex Smith.

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Unga Planning For Big Senior Season



 During halftime of BYU's 91-47 rout of Colorado State Saturday at the Marriott Center, the school honored the Cougar football team, which posted an 11-2 record and ended up with a No. 12 final ranking.

After thanking the fans for their support, coach Bronco Mendenhall handed the microphone to running back Harvey Unga, so he could personally tell them he's coming back for his senior season.

Of course, that news was officially announced last Thursday, but it gave Unga the opportunity to hear the reaction to his decision -- deafening roars of approval.

Afterwards, Unga met with reporters for the first time since announcing his return. He said the main reason for coming back in 2010 is the chance to earn a degree.

"The biggest factor for me was easily the education part," he said. "I had the chance to meet with a lot of former players. Some of whom finished college and some who didn't. The feedback I got from all of those that graduated, mainly, was that they were glad they got their education. Those who didn't graduate told me if they could go back and do things differently, they'd definitely get their education done."

As part of his decision-making process, Unga sent in paperwork requesting an NFL evaluation, which gave him an idea of where he might be drafted. He declined to talk much about that evaluation.

"Coach Mendenhall and I were the only two allowed to talk about that stuff," he said. "It's between he and I."

Considering that BYU is replacing three-year quarterback Max Hall and consensus All-America tight end Dennis Pitta, many believe the Cougar offense will revolve around Unga next season.

"Personally, I don't see it that way," said Unga. "There's going to be quarterbacks fighting for that starting position. I don't think anyone really knew about Max Hall before John Beck, and when he came in out of nowhere, he kind of shocked everybody. Can we replace Max? I think we've got some good guys to take that spot and take off where he left off. We'll be okay. Our coaching staff has done a good job recruiting. They've done a great job with schemes with our offense and we'll continue to grow and learn a lot in the off-season and take it from there."

Unga, who is BYU's all-time leading rusher, said that he's going to do everything he can to improve his game as he prepares for his senior campaign.

"There's tons of things I want to work on," Unga said. "That's one of the biggest things that motivated me to stay. A lot of times I sat there and thought, 'What else can I do?' A lot of people might think, 'He doesn't have much left to do here, considering records.' But in my eyes, there's a lot left out there on the field for me to accomplish as a college athlete. This season will definitely push me to reach those goals and endeavors that I've set in front of me."

Unga is looking to continue being a go-to guy for the offense while honing his abilities for the next level.

"With Dennis and Max and a few others gone, I think there's a sense of urgency to make big plays on offense without those guys there," Unga said. "Blocking is always a big thing in the NFL that they look at. Can I work on blocking?

Definitely. There's a lot of nit-picky things, but those are the main things I'm going to work on."

While Unga has been hampered by a variety of injuries during his career, he's not fretting about injuries hurting his chances to eventually play in the NFL.

"If I worry about injury, it's going to take away from all of the other aspects of the game," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, if the injuries happen, they happen. It's something I definitely do not worry about."

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Wyoming Adds 2010 Prospect Kurt Taufaasau




Taufaasau from New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M., committed to UW Sunday after they visited Laramie and the UW campus over the weekend.

Taufaasau (6-2, 289) is from American Samoa and was a First Team All-Western States Football League pick this past season as a sophomore. He had 40 tackles, the most on the team for a defensive lineman, including seven for loss and he also forced three fumbles.

UW's three starting defensive linemen in 2009 were seniors. The only experienced linemen that return are a pair of nose guards in junior Alex Stover and sophomore Mike Purcell. Stover won't be able to go until summer because of a groin injury.

Patrick Mertens was a walk-on true freshman last fall who will go on scholarship in 2010 and count toward UW's 2010 recruiting class. He will be a redshrit freshman this season.

Taufaasau is the sixth defensive line recruit in this year's class.

"(Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery) told me I have a good chance to come in and compete for a starting spot for next season," said Taufaasau, who will be able to play two years for UW and plans to be on campus this summer.

Taufaasau said Troy and Western Kentucky also offered him scholarships, and he also was recruited by Utah State and Division II Tarleton State out of Texas. He also said UW was the last school he plans to visit before the Feb. 3 signing date.

"I'm going to be a Cowboy for real," he said.

Taufaasau was also considering: Troy, Western Kentucky, and Utah State. 

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why Are Samoans Flocking to The NFL? Watch "60 Minutes" Sunday

HY DO MORE NFL PLAYERS COME FROM A TINY GROUP OF SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDS THAN FROM ANY OTHER PLACE IN AMERICA? “60 MINUTES” FINDS OUT – SUNDAY ON CBS 


60 MINUTES goes to American Samoa to find out how a territory with a population less than the capacity of a pro-football stadium sends more players to the NFL than any similarly populated place in America. In fact, boys born to Samoan parents are estimated to be 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than other Americans, reports Scott Pelley in his story to be broadcast Sunday, Jan. 17 (8-9 p.m., ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The Samoan people tend to be on the larger side and the islands’ six high schools have sent 10 linemen to the NFL in the last five years. One of those 10 NFL linemen who played Samoan high school ball is the Cincinnati Bengals’ Domata Peko, who says Samoans’ speed plays a role as well. “The combination of size and ability and speed, that’s kind of hard to find. Big dudes who can have nimble feet and are able to run and go sideline to sideline,” says Peko. Peko’s teammate, another Samoan named Jonathan Fanene, is a defensive end who proves Peko’s point with his six sacks and a touchdown this season. Says Fanene, “With the talent that we have, we have to take pride of it, especially when you have the opportunity to come to the mainland.”

Fanene’s little, well, not so little, brother, 17-yr.-old Aiulua, is poised to follow in Jonathan’s footsteps. At 6-5 and 280lbs., he’s considering offers from Arizona University and Oregon State. Like many other Samoans, he does a day’s worth of chores before school starts. His father, David, thinks the discipline has a lot to do with his kids’ football success. “That’s how he’s been brought up. Discipline. Obedience should be involved in this house and I am expecting our children to obey us,” Fanene tells Pelley

Jonathan Fanene built his family a palatial home in Samoa with the seven-figure salary his NFL career affords him.

Perhaps the most famous Samoan in the NFL, Pittsburgh’s Troy Polamalu – born in the U.S. to Samoan parents – says the island is lucky to have the option of football. Beyond a career in the NFL, Samoans have little opportunity beyond the military or work in a tuna canning industry based there that is threatening to pull out soon. “The beautiful thing about football is it’s allowed us to get into education,” says Polamalu. “Football is something that comes naturally to us,” he tells Pelley.

There are currently more than 30 Samoans in the NFL and another 200-plus playing Division 1 college football. There are just 65,000 people living on the islands. “What if there were 120 million Samoans,” wonders Polamalu. “How many Samoans would there then be in the NFL?”










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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Te'o, Funaki Top Voting of Readers

Who were the Hawaii's best high school football players the past decade?




Online readers decided that quarterback Inoke Funaki (Kahuku '02) and linebacker Manti Te'o (Punahou '09) are the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Decade in a non-scientific poll that started Thursday.

The two lead The Advertiser's first All-Decade high school football team. The players picked from all-state selections from 2000 to 2009.

A majority of the selections were either multiple-year picks or Offensive or Defensive Players of the Year. But we left the readers to pick the top offensive and defensive players. In some cases, post-high school success was a factor.

Eleven different Players of the Year and several multi-year selections didn't make the cut.




We picked Siuaki Livai as Coach of the Decade. The former Kahuku coach won four of the school's five state titles during the 10-year span.

We chose Funaki, former Saint Louis quarterback Micah Mamiya and Leilehua quarterback Andrew Manley as finalists for voting as Offensive Player of the Decade. Mamiya and Manley are the only two-time Offensive Players of the Year in the decade. Funaki also was a two-time first-team pick, but was Offensive Player of the Year only once ('01). But he's the only one of the trio to lead his team to two state titles.

Perhaps because he did it early in the decade, not many remember that Funaki passed for 2,446 yards and 29 touchdowns his senior year. He also rushed for 548 yards and eight TDs.

Mamiya, now of Montana Western, accounted for 37 TDs in his best season
(2007), passing for 27 and rushing for 10, while throwing for 2,267 yards.
Manley, who has verbally committed to New Mexico State, twice passed for more than 3,000 yards and combined for 35 TDs (31 passing, four rushing) in his best season (2008). His career was like a storybook because he was promoted from the JV to the varsity in the middle of the playoffs his sophomore year when Leilehua's dual-starting quarterbacks were injured in the same game. Manley would lead the Mules to the O'ahu Interscholastic Association and state title in 2007.

The Defensive Player candidates came down to two linebackers. Te'o is the most decorated high school player to come out of Hawai'i. He is the only USA Today national Defensive Player of the Year (2008) from here and the first recipient of the prep version of the Dick Butkus Award for being the best linebacker.

Blaze Soares is the only three-time first-team all-state selection during the decade ('02 to '04).

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UNLV May Have Hit Recruiting Jackpot With Hawaiian Transplant

Pac-10 schools such as Cal, Oregon State and Washington heavily recruited Desmond Tautofi after his junior season of high school football at Kaimuki High in Honolulu.

But after moving to Las Vegas in August and being ruled ineligible by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, the 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive lineman fell off the recruiting map.

Not for new UNLV coach Bobby Hauck.

Tautofi, who attends 2A classification Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas, visited UNLV this weekend with six other locals and committed to the Rebels on Sunday after his trip. He joins Green Valley High kicker Nolan Kohorst, Bishop Gorman defensive back Taylor Spencer and Desert Pines wide receiver Eric Tuiloma, who also committed Sunday.

Calvary Chapel coach Cliff Frazier, who has been coaching in Las Vegas since the early 1980s, said he feels the Rebels have a steal in Tautofi, who practiced most of the season with Calvary Chapel.

"There is not much the kid can't do," Frazier said. "He's agile, agile, agile. He could have played quarterback, and been one of the best in town, if he wanted to."

He'll line up on defense for UNLV, and, after taking a year off, is eager to strap on his shoulder pads.

"I like contact. I like getting in peoples' faces and getting all of my strength into them," Tautofi said. "I like when the opposing team is scared of me. That's how it was. I was that guy who was always beating up other guys. But I'm a cool dude — until the ball is snapped."

Tautofi moved to Las Vegas to live his brother, Robert Tautofi, an assistant coach with Calvary Chapel and former player at UCLA.

But the association never cleared him and he wound up missing his entire senior year. That scared off recruiters from other schools.

"The kid was just a stud in Hawaii," Frazier said. "There is not much he can't do. He's just so quick off the ball."

Tautofi is a two-star recruit by scouting service Rivals.com and two-time all-state selection in football, basketball and volleyball. He also helped Kaimuki win the state basketball crown as a freshman.

"His footwork for the most part is exceptional," David Tautofi said. "He just has a world of talent."
Desmond Tautofi initially gave a soft verbal commitment to Wyoming as a sophomore — a shock to most recruiting experts — but the Cowboys also backed off once he was ruled ineligible.

UNLV turned out being the perfect match — and the lone school that didn't pull its scholarship offer.
"I always wanted to be a Rebel," Tautofi said. "I went to all of their games this year and wished I was on the field hitting people. I'm grateful coach Hauck didn't care what happened to me and went off film from my junior year."

Tautofi said Hauck preached during the weekend visit about transforming the program into something the community can be proud off. Tautofi is eager for that opportunity.
"One of the biggest reasons why I committed to UNLV was to give the Rebel Nation something to be excited about," he said. "When coach Hauck says we are going to win, it's not a suggestion. It's a guarantee."

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Idaho All-American Guard Mike Iupati To Play in Senior Bowl


 
Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati — No. 1 guard rated by NFL Mocks — will participate in the Under Armour Senior Bowl. Iupati received All-American honors this season and with an impressive showing during the week he could hear his name called in round one.
The North squad’s offensive line in this month’s Under Armour Senior Bowl just got a whole lot bigger.  University of Idaho offensive guard Mike Iupati, who stands 6-6 and weighs 325 pounds, has officially accepted an invitation to the senior showcase event, officials announced today.  The 2010 game is scheduled for January 30th at 3 pm (CT) in Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be televised live by the NFL Network.
Iupati (pronounced ee-YOU-PAH-tee) earned consensus All-American honors this season after being named to the first team by the Associated Press, Walter Camp, American Football Coaches Association and the Football Writers Association of America.  He was also named to the Sporting News’ second team All American squad.
An Outland Trophy finalist and first team All-WAC selection, Iupati helped the Vandals claim just the second bowl victory in program history—a 43-42 win over Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl.  He didn’t allow a single sack all season and graded out at 90 percent or better in all 13 games.
The annual Senior Bowl is where the nations top seniors come and showcase their skills for top NFL scouts in a week long event. Participants take part in various drills and they receive coaching from NFL staffs.
More than 800 NFL scouts, coaches, and general managers make the trip to Mobile, Ala. where the Senior Bowl is held. The week of practices, and the game itself, will be aired live on the NFL Network.

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Weekend Visit Sways Fehoko



With his family connections, Texas Tech always seemed like the team to beat for Farrington (Honolulu, Hawaii) linebacker V.J Fehoko. After a great visit to Washington, it appeared the Huskies were in a good spot. However, a visit to Lubbock this past weekend has the Red Raiders back on top.

"Texas Tech is definitely the team to beat right now," Fehoko said. "I had a perfect visit, it was just an incredible time. First off, my host was my brother Sam and it was great to see him again. We're really close and growing up, he was like my idol so it was just a great experience to be around him again.

"I love the coaching staff and they were my first offer so they have always been high on my list. I visited unofficially before but this visit was way different. All the coaches were great and never pressured me the entire visit. Other schools I've talked with kind of put on a hard sell to me and tried to get me to commit but that's not really my style and the Tech coaches were just so easy to be around.

"I spent a lot of time with Coach (Mike) Leach along with Coach (Brian) Mitchell, who's my recruiting coach and Coach (Ruffin) McNeil, who's the defensive coordinator. They're all great guys and I have such a great comfort level with them. Coach Mitchell is a family friend and they told me they have big plans for me in that defense so that's exciting to hear."

Being able to see how passionate Texas football is was also eye opening for Fehoko.

"Man, you always hear about how crazy the fans are in Texas and how big football is but to actually see it first hand was incredible," Fehoko said. "The atmosphere was incredible and unlike any place I've ever been and I didn't even go on a game weekend. There were fans coming up to me who knew who I was telling me how bad they wanted me to come to Tech.

"Football is just crazy there and that's what I'm looking for. When you combine how great the coaches were with the environment and being around my brother all weekend, like I said, just a perfect visit and it's going to take a lot to beat out Tech right now."

Despite the A-plus visit, Fehoko said he still plans to take a few more visits before he pulls the trigger.

"I still have Utah State set for [Jan. 15] and Utah for [Jan. 22]," Fehoko said. "Just like I said after my Washington visit, I kind of owe it to myself to take all these visits to make sure I'm doing the right thing. When I commit, it's going to be final and I don't want to have any regrets.

"I believe a man is only as good as his word so you'll never see me commit and then back out. The Tech coaches said to take my time and they would have a spot for me so I'm not worried about waiting too long and not having a ride there. I'll still talk things over with my parents though and see what they have to say. If over the break, I feel like the time is right to commit somewhere, I'll go ahead and do it but as of right now, my plan is to still take those last two visits and maybe even a mid-week visit to Hawaii pretty soon here as well."

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