Seaus tackle expectations of a famous football name
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AUGUST 30, 2010 AT 11 P.M., UPDATED AUGUST 30, 2010 AT 11:14 P.M.
than their last name with a future Hall of Famer and San Diego football icon. They share a goal.
The 17-year-old cousins, nephews of former Chargers great Junior Seau, want to play together in college and they would prefer to stay on the West Coast, close to family.
Before the NCAA hit Junior Seau’s alma mater with a two-year bowl ban and a loss of 30 scholarships, USC was the “No. 1 plan,” said Ian, a 6-foot-3, 252-pound linebacker for La Costa Canyon High.
Now the two, who grew up playing Pop Warner football together, are eyeing the Trojans’ crosstown rival, UCLA. Neither Seau has committed to a school.
“Wherever we go, we want to go together,” said Micah, whose Facebook profile picture is of him and Ian.
Micah, a 6-3, 228-pound linebacker for The Bishop’s School, has garnered interest from several Pac-10 schools after missing most of last year with a shoulder injury.
Said Micah’s father, Savaii, Junior’s brother: “We’re looking at Cal and UCLA. It’ll be the Pac-10.”
Ian wants to stay close to his mother, Mary Seau, Junior’s sister, who raised Ian and his sister by herself. Ian’s parents divorced before he was born.
“My mom supports me in everything I do,” Ian said. “I go to her for most everything. She’s been there for me my whole entire life. She’s going to be the main reason in what school I pick. I don’t want to go far away from her.”
Ian has received scholarship offers from a host of Pac-10 schools, plus BYU, Colorado and Colorado State, as well as interest from Notre Dame.
Darrin Brown, Ian’s former coach at La Costa Canyon, called him a definite Division I player.
“Ian was a raw talent and he’s turned into a fierce competitor,” Brown said. “He has one of the quickest, most explosive first steps I’ve ever seen coming out of high school.”
Savaii, who said the cousins are more like brothers, said playing college ball together has been the boys’ goal since they were young.
“They’re inseparable. They’re real tight. It’s pretty special,” Savaii said.
Mary agrees the boys have a special bond. But for college she would like Ian to make his own choice.
“I’m all about education,” Mary said. “And I told him whatever decision you make be sure that the college has your major and that it’ll (provide) a great education.
“I’d like him to play wherever he’s happy. My plan is to go watch his games on Saturdays.”
To support the family, Mary holds three jobs and works 65 to 75 hours a week.
“She’s done a lot more than most moms would do for a kid,” Ian said. “I know it’s been tough on her. Hopefully I can go get some money and do something good and make sure she doesn’t have to do anything hard for the rest of her life.”
To solidify a college offer, Micah said he needs to perform and show schools he’s not hurt anymore.
“I know what he can do. As a parent, my expectations are pretty high,” said Savaii, who has raised Micah and his younger brother Quinn since divorcing their mother in 2008.
It’s no surprise that heightened expectations come with the Seau name.
“Whether (Micah) says it or not, anytime you’re playing linebacker in San Diego and your last name is Seau, the expectations are obviously way up there,” Bishop’s coach Joel Allen said.
Micah, however, views it a little differently.
“Football is a way to express myself — to get away from everything,” he said. “When I’m on the field, it’s my love.”
Allen said the expectations come from all around.
“I think if he goes out and just has fun and plays football like his last name is Jones or something, I know his talent will take over and it’ll be his decision where he goes (to school),” Allen said.
Micah acknowledged the family connection but insisted there’s no pressure.
“I play for myself,” he said. “Football is in our family. It’s in our blood. It’s how we’ve been raised.
“We obviously know our uncle was a great NFL player. We look up to him. We appreciate everything that he’s done. Right now, we’re just trying to do our own thing, make our own name.”
Ian is also trying to make a name for himself, separate from his famous uncle, and in fact likens his new role at La Costa Canyon to another renowned Chargers linebacker, Shawne Merriman.
Rivals.com called Ian “the most disruptive player on a very good defense in 2009.”
“We expect (Ian) to be a big part of our potential success,” said Sean Sovacool, in his first year as head coach at LCC. “He’s a big athletic kid who can make the difference in a game.”
Ian expects himself to have a big year, too.
“Hopefully I’ll get 20-plus sacks and go beyond what’s expected,” he said.
Savaii also dismissed the notion of additional pressure of being a Seau.
“Regardless of the name, you still have to get it done on the school side and of course on the field,” Savaii said. “They’re OK with the expectations and being a Seau.”