Sunday, March 11, 2012
Navy's FB Maika Polamalu
Posted: February 3, 6:28 pm | (permalink) | (0 comments)
Pottsgrove High product Maika Polamalu comes from good bloodlines. His father, Aoatoa Polamalu, was a standout nose guard at Penn State from 1985-88. His cousin is none other than Troy Polamalu, the perennial All-Pro safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Maika Polamalu plays different position than his father or cousin, but has the same toughness, tenacity and football instincts that are associated with the family name. The 5-foot-11, 191-pounder rushed for 1,621 yards and 20 touchdowns as a single-back in a spread offense and recorded 62 solo tackles and seven fumble recoveries as a linebacker on defense.
Polamalu will begin his collegiate career as a fullback in Navy's triple-option system. Pottsgrove employed an option package that required Polamalu to line up alone in the backfield the same way the Navy fullback does.
"We run a lot of triple-option stuff so I know how to play the dive without a lead blocker," he said.
Polamalu, who lives about a half hour outside of Philadelphia in Pottstown, Pa., was seriously considering a scholarship offer from Temple before head coach Al Golden departed to take the same position at Miami. Navy assistant Dale Pehrson had been in constant contact and the youngster started seriously considering that option about a month ago.
"Navy sold me on getting a top-notch education and serving my country," Polamalu said. "I went to visit and was very impressed by the environment. It was a great atmosphere with a lot of organization and structure, which I like."
Polamalu is of Samoan heritage and said it is truly an honor to get a chance to play for a real pioneer of that island nation. Navy's Ken Niumatalolo is the first Division I football head coach of Samoan ancestry.
"Personally, that meant a lot to me. As Samoans, we take a lot of pride in what we do and how we do it," Polamalu said. "Coach Ken is a great man and I feel priviliged to have him as my coach."
While on official visit to Annapolis, Polamalu was also made to feel comfortable by several Navy players of Polynesian descent such as Hawaii natives Aaron Santiago and Wave Ryder.
Polamalu has already graduated from Pottsgrove High with a 3.7 cumulative grade point average and is currently enrolled at Montgomery County Community College.
“From looking at it from a father’s side, I think Maika started to realize who he is and where he is and Navy was a place to me that could guarantee him a job when he finished playing football and get a great education at the same time," Al Polamalu said. "The security of it and getting to play running back at the same time was a great opportunity. I'm very, very proud of him and the choice he made. It reflects on his hard work in the classroom and his character."