Friday, May 25, 2012

Kevin Haskin: Brothers chase golf dream together Posted: May 24, 2012 - 6:14pm

Tony Finau and his brother, Gipper, are separated by only 11 months. Tony is the Golfweek Tour's leader on the money list.

MAYETTA — With a fierce wind blowing hard enough at Firekeeper Golf Course to almost steer a mishit back into your face, Tony Finau could not get enough of the range.

The long hitter struck knockdowns, bombs and pitches to watch how the gusts affected his blasts. And, when he changed clubs, he could not help but stand his bag upright.

Then, clang ... the bag blew over.

“I keep telling him it’s not going to stand up, but he keeps doing it anyway,’’ said Gipper Finau, watching and shaking his head.

This is what you get when brothers pursue their golf ambitions together. In the case of Tony and Gipper Finau, they are playing this week in the Firekeeper Tradition, a stop on the Golfweek National Pro Tour.

They are young, separated just 11 months at birth, with Tony, 22, the oldest.

Yet already, their paths included incredible opportunities after each turned pro as teenagers in May 2007.

They competed together in the Big Break, played a round with Michael Jordan and received deals from Callaway. All after Tony competed in the Ultimate Game, where he faced a spot decision to turn pro as one of 12 finalists. A $2 million first prize weighed into that decision.

The money was too good. Tony turned pro, stayed in the televised event and eventually won $100,000 facing the likes of Kevin Streelman, Spencer Levin, Scott Piercy and Erik Compton.

“This was right at the end of high school and I was almost committed to BYU or USC,’’ Tony said. “I had a big decision. But at the time, the way things were going, I thought that was the best thing for me, and my brother came in right behind me. That was it. I made $100,000 and that was some good cushion to get my professional career started.’’

As with most golfers, careers take unusual twists.

While Tony has competed in a handful of events on both the PGA and Nationwide circuits, those opportunities are not yet permanent. So this week, he is again playing on the Golfweek National Pro Tour, along with Gipper, who made his return to competition after dealing with an ailment.

Gipper missed the cut after a second-round score of 80 put him 8-over for the tournament. Tony, the leading money winner on the mini-tour with two wins in three previous starts, birdied five of his last eight holes Thursday to card a 4-under 68 and move to 4-under for the tourney. The last round of the 54-hole event begins at 8 a.m. Friday.

What is intriguing about the Finau brothers, in addition to their youthful beginnings in pro golf, is that on a tour where opportunities are coveted, each already received that Big Break.

The show captured their background, relationship and talents. Tony advanced the furthest, reaching the finals.

“It was a lot of fun to be part of,’’ Tony said. “It’s something you’ll never downplay if you were on there, especially to be with my brother. It’s not exactly a golf format, if you will. It’s doing challenges.

“In golf, you usually have time to recover. If you hit it short-side, or into a bunker, hopefully your short game can cover for you. But this is different, a spot shot that becomes a one-shot deal. That’s why the nerves are a little different.’’

Like so many other competitions, the brothers could lean on — and also try to out-do — each other.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, it was Gipper who first turned to golf.

“We were in kind of a bad element and it was very scary,’’ he said. “But we lived right next to a golf course. So when I’d walk home from school, I’d stop by and hit some balls. That’s how it started and it’s been good ever since.’’

By the age of 6, Gipper was winning tournaments. That put Tony, who started at 7, a little behind.

“It took me three to four years to compete with him as a junior golfer,’’ Tony said. “It’s good. We both like to compete and play with each other, and we do something when we’re practicing.’’

Often, dinner is on the line. Jabs are traded over just about anything. Like handling a golf bag in a stiff breeze.

“I’m the one who kind of has to be the peacemaker,’’ Tony contends. “Being older, I’ve got to be mature and not so competitive.’’

Competition is keen enough on tour. So much so that the decision by the two brothers to turn pro so early is still scrutinized. Yet the experience of playing in high-profile events gives them a potential edge as they progress.

“I’m 22 years old, but I feel like a veteran,’’ Tony said. “I’ve been a pro now for five years. Some are amazed because that’s when guys are just getting out of college, but I feel like I’ve got a leg up on them because of the experiences playing at the top level.’’

Monday, May 21, 2012

Uaea Masina receives offers from Utah and most recently Colorado

Uaea Masina, LB, Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton – Masina has quickly gone from an unknown Utah linebacker to a rising star out west. This 6-2, 210-pounder is really well-put-together, looks ready to add more good weight and plays with great length. His long arms and his speed in pursuit allows him to cover all kinds of ground in both the pass game and the run game.

Masina just picked up his second offer on Friday from Colorado, joining the one he already had from Utah. If he camps around, he could land several more this spring and summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

FARINELLA: After season off, Tatupu looking to prove himself BY MARK FARINELLA SUN CHRONICLE STAFF Sunday, May 20, 2012 2:00 AM EDT

Former KP standout gets fresh start in Atlanta
Every now and then I like to fill you in on how some of our area's most accomplished athletes are doing in the professional ranks. So it was that I called the Atlanta Falcons last week, seeking to catch up with one of King Philip Regional High's all-time greats.

Lofa Tatupu, following a year out of football, has signed with the Falcons in hopes of regaining the form at middle linebacker that led him to three Pro Bowl berths with the Seattle Seahawks. He's so committed to the task, in fact, that he politely declined (through the Falcons' media relations staff) to be interviewed during the team's preseason conditioning period.

"At this point in time, we'd just like to take a pass on it," said Brian Cearns, the Falcons' football communications coordinator. "Lofa's focused on the offseason and getting ready for the year right now, and would just like to kind of lay low for a while."

Well, that's that. Having been around professional football for almost 40 years now, I can certainly understand why an athlete might want to go into bunker mode and shut out the distractions. This is a very important offseason for the Southern Cal product via KP and the University of Maine, and I'm sure he wants to give it his undivided attention.

But I hope he also knows how diligently his local fans support him and want to know how he's doing; no matter where I go in the towns we cover and beyond, people stop and ask about the progress of Tatupu and our other local emissary to the NFL, Arizona Cardinals' fullback Anthony Sherman of North Attleboro. No, I haven't forgotten about Nick Schwieger, former Bishop Feehan and Dartmouth standout, who's getting his shot with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted rookie running back. But he's just at the beginning of his road. Tatupu, entering his seventh NFL season, is a lot farther along on his journey.

The last couple of years have been a pretty big speed bump for Tatupu, unfortunately.

He was riding high with the Seahawks after becoming their second-round draft pick in 2005 and leading their young defense to a Super Bowl in his rookie season. Three Pro Bowls later, the Seahawks extended his rookie contract through 2015, six years for $42 million including a guaranteed $18 million.

But suddenly, injuries started to dog the fiery middle linebacker. A torn pectoral muscle ended his 2009 season prematurely, and sore knees bothered him throughout the next season. And the Seahawks' fortunes were plummeting at the same time, prompting a coaching change from Jim Mora to Pete Carroll, Tatupu's former coach at USC, in 2010.

You'd think it would be a match made in heaven, right? The first thing Carroll did after the 2010 season was over was ask Tatupu to take a massive pay cut. Tatupu balked, he was released, and he spent the next year out of football as a result.

Fortunately, the Internet is vast and infinite. A search of the vastness brought me to a post-signing "five questions" interview that Tatupu did with Jay Adams of the Falcons' website, and I dutifully offer some of those responses here. Adams asked Tatupu if the quick transition from high-salaried starter to street free agent was hard to accept.

"That was definitely foreign territory for me," Tatupu said. "But it was kind of, at this point, like I know I can play, you know? I did just finish 2010. I finished that season. I played all 16 and I felt like I played well within the scheme we were in. I don't think it played to my strengths, necessarily, but I'm going to do whatever I can, whatever I'm told to do, to help us win and be successful. Not that I ever sat back and was like, 'I'm the man,' but it definitely does bring a taste of reality to you."

Adams asked Tatupu what it was like to be idle while the NFL was in full swing last season.

"When you've been playing the game since you were 7 years old, every part of it is engrained in you," he said, "and when you're playing in college, you've got more of a job - you're regimented. So, I'm waking up at 6, 7 o'clock like, 'I'm supposed to be somewhere right now.' My body knows, even though I don't have anything to do or anywhere to go, I feel like I should be at breakfast right now, going to my 8 o'clock meeting after that. That was kind of the weirdest part about the whole thing."

The time away from football hopefully will have given Tatupu's sore knees a chance to heal and strengthen for the challenge ahead. If he can prove to the Falcons that he can still play at a high level, he's got a legitimate chance to start at middle linebacker in their base 4-3 defense.

So far, Tatupu said, he feels welcome in Atlanta - although he and his wife were in the process of selling their Seattle house and trying to find one in Massachusetts when this opportunity arose.

"From top to bottom, this organization and the guys they've brought in, they've been great, standup guys," he said. "I don't see attitudes or egos coming between any of us. I look forward to working with them, but also getting to know them off-field. It's tight. It's like a family here. Some teams don't have that feel and people just kind of go in their opposite directions."

But he also told Adams that he knows he has something to prove. His accomplishments in Seattle are in the past, and the future remains uncertain.

"I have to earn the respect of my teammates and earn their trust, but also earn a place on this roster." he said. "That's why I came here because they said I could compete for a starting spot, and I don't expect anything to be given to me. I just wanted the opportunity to fight for a spot."

That's exactly what he's doing, allowing no distractions along the way. Local fans will have to be satisfied with highlights or NFL cable-TV packages to follow him; unlike Sherman and the Cardinals, who'll be the Patriots' foes in the Gillette Stadium home opener, they won't be able to see Tatupu in person unless the Patriots play the Falcons in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

Right now, however, Tatupu is just looking ahead to his next workout and his next organized team activity, and is taking his NFL comeback one step at a time.

"I look forward to the challenge, most definitely, yes," he said in the online interview. "I definitely have a chip on my shoulder and I'm looking forward to it."

And I'm definitely looking forward to wishing him well in person later this season.

Kyle Goon: Edwin Mulitalo going out on a limb in Samoa

Former NFL player Mulitalo will uproot family from Utah for distant coaching job.
First Published May 19 2012 06:05 pm • Last Updated May 20 2012 12:08 am

Imagine: You’ve retired from a long and successful NFL career after making millions. You have a wife, four children and a lot of spare time.

What do you do with your money and your influence? Right — uproot yourself from the U.S. to move to Western Samoa to help start its first American football program.

No? That wouldn’t be your first choice? Well it’s a no-brainer for Edwin Mulitalo, the offensive guard who once won a Super Bowl with the Ravens. And he knows already that he’s in for a challenge.

"This isn’t like American Samoa — it’s still a little bit raw," he says. "We’ll be going up against rugby, and that’s going to be tough."

It was only a few months ago when Mulitalo started hearing some requests from St. Joseph, a private school in Western Samoa. They needed helmets and pads — could he help?

Mulitalo used to own an arena football team, so he sent the essential equipment over. It was a cause that played to his heart: helping young men learn life through the game of football.

St. Joseph then asked for more. Could he volunteer his time? Could he possibly coach?

The 37-year-old Mulitalo, his football career behind him, slowly warmed to the idea.

"One thing led to another, and sure enough that’s what happened," he says. "I decided I would love to do this."

So, next month the Mulitalos will head from Herriman to Samoa, where the NFL vet will serve as — get this — offensive line coach, a position he could probably take anywhere he wants.

Guard Peyton Siva’s summer plans are simple:

1. Get enough rest so that the ankle he sprained back in November finally can fully heal.

2. Shoot a lot of jumpers. Lots and lots of jumpers.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said toward the end of the season that the coaches had tweaked Siva’s shot. Pitino said the main adjustment they made was correcting the junior’s tendency to fade away instead of jumping straight up on his shot. The result helped him shoot 42.8 percent (6 of 14) from 3-point range in the postseason after making just 20 percent (11 of 55) during the regular season.

Siva, however, said the change was more psychological than physical.

“(Pitino) just told me to stay balanced, stop thinking about it and just keep confidence staying with my same shot,” he said. “I didn’t change it at all, just keep my same routine. That’s all I’ve been doing — just playing in open gym, just working on it.”

Siva said the left ankle he injured Nov. 14 still swells up after he plays, but it’s improving.

“It was a longer ankle sprain than a lot of people thought,” he said. “It was probably like an 8-10-week (injury), and I came back after the first week. I didn’t want to sit out that long; I didn’t want to do that to my teammates. It’s getting healthier now, and I’m just now starting to get back to jumping off of one foot.”

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Now or Never for Bengals’ Rey Maualuga

Around The NFL
May 19th, 2012 at 4:41 pm by jasonAround The NFL

As we continue break down all of the Bengals who are set to be free agents after the 2013 season, we now look at the quarterback of the Bengals top-10 defense, MLB Rey Maualuga. Its’ been a bumpy road for the former All-American out of USC, as he’s struggled with arrests, injuries, and inconsistent play while playing the hardest position on defense for one of the toughest defensive minds in football in Mike Zimmer.

On the field, Rey has been an enigma. He began his NFL career as an outside linebacker after playing at USC in the middle. After two seasons, he moved inside last season and had mixed reviews. Rey started out the year playing at a high level, but his play fell off late in the year and he became a liability. He can be very physical and land the big-hit, but often whiffs on tackles leading to big plays given up. His inconsistency, and tendency to be out of position by either over-pursuit, or getting caught up in blocks hurt the defense late last season as the Bengals were gashed up the middle by the Ravens and Texans in the midst of the teams’ 2-game losing streak to end the season. He attributed his poor play down the stretch to an ankle injury, the same ankle he broke that cost him the remaining 2 games of the 2009 season. Rey has only missed 4 games in his 3-year career, so he clearly knows how to play with pain, but he has to be more consistent with his play if wants to remain the starting MLB for the Bengals.

Off the field, Maualuga has been in trouble multiple times and hasn’t shown he can be counted on to stay out of trouble. He did have his assault charges dropped after a judge agreed to throw out the charges against him, which were stemming from his offseason arrest in which he assaulted a bar owner in a downtown Cincinnati bar. He was also arrested in 2010 and charged with driving under the influence, to which he plead guilty, and now is facing an NFL suspension because he’s a repeat offender, and the number of games he’s expected to miss is between 1-4 games, meaning he’ll already start the 2012 season behind the 8-ball.


The Bengals have no real security behind Rey if they decide not to re-sign him. Brandon Johnson is still a free agent and he’s started several games at the MLB spot. Roddrick Muckelroy was a promising young MLB going into last season, but tore his achilles the first day of training camp. If the team loses Rey this offseason, they’ll have to find a replacement via free agency or the 2013 NFL Draft.

BRENDEN FARNEY, grandson of Olosega, Manu'a Native drafted by the Oakland A's - COCONUT WIRELESS, 5 Jan 2012

Vacaville Highs Brenden Farney makes a throw during Mondays high school all-star game. Farney and Vacaville teammate C.J. Jacobe were drafted by the Oakland As in the MLB first-year player draft. (Mike Greener/Daily Republic)
It feels good, said Farney, who played three seasons at Fairfield before transferring to Vacaville. Im very excited, very excited.
In helping the Bulldogs tie for the Monticello Empire League title, Farney, a shortstop, led the team in hitting (.487), runs scored (29) and triples (3), tying Jacobe for the top spot in home runs (5).
I had long talks with a bunch of different organizations, Farney said.
They didnt draft just me, they drafted my best friend, Brenden Farney, Jacobe said.

Tribal Tattoos Reflect Football Players Culture By Lauren Gandara As of Friday, March 30, 2012

Coach Tupuola

Several Pacific Islanders on the Cerritos College football team represent their culture by getting tribal tattoos to represent something significant in their lives. However, the difference between the significance of the tattoos is what sets them apart.

Defensive tackle Alex Tava is from the Tongan tribe has the symbol for warrior tattooed on his arm, which he has since he was 16 years old.

"That's how I felt inside. I felt like I should've gotten it because it represents me," he said.

Former Cerritos College defensive end and now assistant defensive line coach Darrell Tupuola is full Samoan. His mother is American Samoan and his father is Upolu Samoan.

He got his first tattoo as a senior at Long Beach Poly High School and his second one while attending Cerritos College when he received a football scholarship from Azusa Pacific University.

Tupuola explained the meanings of his tattoos.

"They have different meanings but together, all the meanings tell a story of my ancestors and my family."

While playing for the Falcons back in 2006, Tupuola recieved the Z-Man Award after posting 18 tackles with three tackles for losses.

Ma' ataua Brown, defensive end for the Falcons, is Samoan but unsure of the specific tribe that he comes from.

He has his last name tattooed on his right forearm with the tribal symbols for "fala" tattooed inside his name. According to Brown, a fala is a type of mat for sitting or lying down in the Samoan culture.

He said that the reason for getting the symbols tattooed in his arm was his cousin's idea, just to add something extra.

Cerritos College wide receiver Silver Vaifanua is also Samoan and is unsure of the specific tribe that he comes from. His tattoo is a half sleeve, going from the left side of his chest to his lower biceps.

His reason for getting the tattoo was just to get it, but he also added, "It's just to represent my culture and the artwork."

Vaifanua said the spears on his tattoo mean protection and the ropes on his tattoo ties everything together. He is unsure about the rest of the symbols tattooed on his arm.

Amituanai's Ink Displays Family History

Cerritos College linebacker Donovan Amituanai bares his chest that displays the name of his daughter who is named after his deceased mother. Amituanai is one of several Falcon football players with tribal tattoos. Photo by Lauren Gandara.

By Lauren Gandara
Inked with the reminder of those closest to him on his arm and chest, Cerritos College linebacker Donovan Amituanai talks about the influence his tattoos has on his life.

Being Samoan and Polynesian, he has two very large tattoos. One is a half sleeve and the other one is across his chest.

He got his first tattoo when he was 18 years old as a graduation present from his father when he graduated at Long Beach Poly High School.

"The one that really stands out is the 'A' with the crown, that's for my last name, Amituanai. It symbolizes loyalty and royalty to my family. It means a lot to me," he said.

"All the other stuff on my tattoos is also from my father. I wanted to be just like him growing up so I wanted to get the same things that he has on his tattoo. His father had some of the same things so its been passed on from generation to generation"

When turned 21, he got a second tattoo of his daughter's name on his chest after she was born. He also has angel wings to represent his mother who had passed away when Amituanai was 10 years old. His daughter Aima was named after his mother.

"We Polynesians are strong believers in getting tattoos that mean something, we don't just put anything on our bodies. Obviously, the things that I have are some things that my family had and I represent it with pride when I play on the field that people can see it on my arm."

Teammate and quarter back Paul Lopez said that he likes the fact that Amitauanai's tattoos are about his tribe and have a cultural meaning behind it unlike some people who just get tattoos for the sake of having them.

He added that Amituanai seems to be very passionate about his tattoos because he is also very passionate about his tribe.

"When we do that huddle in the beginning of the game, that's one way," Lopez said.

Amituanai said that he got his tattoos in the most sensitive areas on his body because he believes that he should endure pain for the things that mean the most to him.

"Growing up, I saw my father had one and I always just thought it was something cool and as I got older I realized that the things that he had on his arm weren't just tattoos, it actually meant a lot to him. It had tradition behind it and that's what I wanted, I wanted something that meant a lot to me."

Defensive end Ma'ataua Brown is Samoan who also has tribal tattoos. "I think it's pretty amazing the way his tattoos reflect our culture," Brown said.

Both on and off the field, Amituanai said that he smiles knowing that he always has those important and influential people with him.

"Whenever I look at them it puts a smile on my face."

"It makes me work harder when I'm out on the field and I just beat my chest sometimes when I'm on the football field because I know that I have this tattoo on my chest. I know that I'm representing every will. The one on my arm is the one I really like also because it's something that my father has and I know that he's with me wherever I go."

Pittsburgh Steelers: Should Alameda Ta'amu Be Expected to Start as Well? By Chris G. (Featured Columnist) on May 17, 2012

The Pittsburgh Steelers added some serious talent to their lines in the draft this year by selecting three linemen with their first four selections.

With Willie Colon moving to guard, chances are that second-round selection Mike Adams will join first-round selection David DeCastro on the offensive line as a starter as soon as Week 1.

The young talent should instantly help upgrade a weak offensive line and help turn the unit into a strength. This will have a positive effect on the rest of the offensive unit, which has underachieved in terms of points scored.

With the offensive line appearing to be in better shape than last season with the addition of two talented rookies, should the defensive line get the same treatment?

Ziggy Hood will enter the season as a starter at left defensive end, and while he will not overtake Brett Keisel yet, second-year defensive end Cameron Heyward will see a lot of time in the Steelers' defensive line rotation.

Pittsburgh's defense may best be served to give a young player significant playing time in the middle of their defense as well.

Alameda Ta'amu was one of the top-rated nose tackles in this year's draft, and the Steelers were thrilled to trade up for him in the fourth round.

There is a possibility that Casey Hampton will not be ready for the start of the season as he recovers from an ACL injury, and even if he is, how effective will he be?

Already last season, prior to his injury, Hampton showed signs of decline, not being the same dominant force against the run and failed to command double teams.

Steve McLendon worked his way onto the field, but he does not offer the same level or performance as Hampton. He wasn't even at the level of Chris Hoke in his prime; then again, Hoke rarely showed any drop off from Hampton and at times played better.

While Pittsburgh could settle to go with the player with more experience, they can also try to go with the high-upside player on their defensive line just as they are on the offensive line.

Ta'amu is massive at 6'3", 348 pounds, and he should be a force in the middle for years to come once he develops.

The problem is, is Ta'amu's technique good enough to start? Defensive line coach John Mitchell is very particular about this and will strip Ta'amu down and build him back up. It is a reason that rookie defensive linemen do not get much playing time.

It is not out of the question for a nose tackle to start, though. Hampton started 11 regular season games and two playoff games as a rookie and helped the Steelers defense to a successful season.

Ta'amu may not have the NFL experience, but he does have the frame to command double teams and anchor the defensive line against the run.

The problem is, Ta'amu is inconsistent with his effort, and this will be a detriment if this pattern holds. But if Hampton is injured to start the year, even a developing Ta'amu may be a better option than the limited McLendon.

All Pittsburgh needs is for Ta'amu to be a two-down player as they switch personnel for passing downs. If he can command a double team, that is already an upgrade over what we saw most of last season.

Ta'amu, as with any rookie, will have his weaknesses and growing pains, but he also has an upside that no other nose tackle has on the roster and he could be the best option to play at the start of the season, particularly if Hampton is injured.

Pittsburgh should not hand the job to Ta'amu, but he should have every opportunity to earn it.

Koa Misi Miami Dolphins That Must Step Up in 2012

Elsa/Getty Images

When the Dolphins used a top-40 pick in the 2010 draft on LB Koa Misi, what they thought they were getting was a talented pass-rusher.

Two seasons and just 5.5 sacks later, that might not be the case.

After he followed a promising rookie season with an underwhelming 2011 campaign, there are grumblings among fans that Misi could be a bust.

Complicating things are felony assault charges that Misi is now facing stemming from an incident in April 2011. While the Dolphins await the legal conclusion to that situation, they hope to focus on his play on the field.

In 12 games last year, Misi only recorded one sack, one QB hit and four pressures in 113 pass-rushes, according to Pro Football Focus. Not exactly the production Miami was hoping for.

New head coach Joe Philbin has even suggested that the staff may experiment with Misi at inside linebacker. Misi possesses a good skill set and is an adept run defender. Whether he can develop into the pass-rusher he was expected to be remains to be seen, but he has the tools to contribute in other ways.

No matter where the coaches line him up, it's time for the guy to show what he can do. Seeing as Misi is already considered a disappointment by some, 2012 is undeniably a year in which Misi must prove that he can be a quality piece in the Dolphins defense

Family History Drives Cerritos Defensive Tackle Toward Nfl Future Kyle Peko.

By Jim Brannon

As of Tuesday, November 1, 2011

By Pete Moye'

Sports Button

Family and football go hand-in-hand for defensive tackle Kyle Peko, not just because two of his cousins have played in the NFL, but because he grew up loving football.

“When I was growing up, I loved to play football, but I never really got to play because in Pop Warner, I was always too big. I didn’t play football until high school, I just played baseball my whole life.

“Once I hit high school, I joined the football team, and I loved it.”

His cousin, Tupe Peko, an offensive lineman who played at Cerritos College before transferring to Michigan State University, was drafted in 2001 and was best known for his time with the Indianapolis Colts before retiring in 2007.

Active NFL player Domata Peko is another cousin, drafted out of Michigan State in 2006 by the Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive tackle and continues playing for them this season.

At La Habra High School, the current defensive tackle excelled as an offensive lineman, making second team All-League and All-Area Rookie of the Year as a sophomore.

Cerritos College football Head Coach Frank Mazzotta has a long history with the Peko family, coaching Kyle’s father as well as other family members.

“It’s kind of been a long history, and he’s really a great football player,” Mazzotta said.

He has known Kyle Peko since Peko’s freshman year in high school, when Peko played for Mazzotta’s son, Frank Jr., who is the head coach for La Habra.

He would enjoy more success as a junior, placing first team All-League, All-Area and All-CIF Lineman of the Year.

Last year, he was named by ESPNHS on California 2011 Football Players to Watch.

Peko said it was an honor to make the list, saying, “I was pretty excited about that.”

Mazzotta describes Peko as athletic and quiet, but he is counting on Peko to prove himself with his actions on the field down the road.

“Kyle was probably the best high school football player around,” Mazzotta said.

He said that when Peko went to a camp following high school, “they put him on defense, and he was the best defensive [player] they had from high school.”

Since arriving at Cerritos, Peko has been placed on the other end of the ball as a defensive tackle.

“He’s not quite a seasoned Defensive lineman,” Mazzotta said. “He got a few lessons (against Los Angeles Harbor College). He learned that you can’t stand around thinking you’re going to make plays. But he’s a good player.”

Mazzotta explained that freshmen have to deal with a big jump in competition from high school to junior college, because the colleges don’t just have six good players on the field at one time, they have eleven good players at once using good schemes.

“That’s part of our problem with our team right now, the leadership’s not there because we don’t have any older guys, so we have got to create that,” Mazzotta said, “Once you get that, then you create confidence.”

This young team is the result of more than 15 players receiving scholarships last year and five returners that didn’t come back. However, Mazzotta remains optimistic, saying this group is as good as any he had in a long time.

“I kind of felt that [players] like Peko, they’re going to be good. It’s just that we’re going to take our lumps a little bit here, probably until they get used to the speed and the difference in football.”

When it comes to inspiration, Peko cites his father as his role model.

“He’s always the one that’s driving me to do better, and try to go somewhere.”

His father has had to deal with kidney issues for about five years, and as a result, he has lost a lot of weight.

After struggling in the classroom in high school, Peko said he felt he let his father down, which led Peko to Cerritos to work toward what he envisions as his future in the NFL.

“That’s my main goal, to go to the NFL,” Peko said.

Peko wants to win a championship with Cerritos, but noted it won’t be possible without succeeding as a student.

He said his most important goal for this semester is to pass all his classes.

He said that playing for his favorite teams, including the University of Southern California Trojans and the Oakland Raiders, “would be a dream come true.”

Peko addressed what he expects for the season ahead, saying, “Be ready to watch us win the rest of our games this season.”

Recruiting: Michigan State offers scholarship to JUCO DT Kyle Peko

2:00 PM, May 18, 2012 |

Detroit Free Press Special Writer
Mark Dantonio has not recruited the junior college ranks on a regular basis, but he has shown a willingness to go that route for players who can fill an immediate need.

That was the case in 2011, when the Spartans signed Fou Fonoti out of Cerritos College in California. Fonoti is a cousin of former Spartans Situpe and Domata Peko.

This year, Dantonio has offered another JUCO cousin of the Pekos: 6-foot-2, 290-pound Kyle Peko of Cerritos College. Kyle also is close friends with Fonoti. Through those connections, he has heard a lot of positives about the MSU program.

"I keep in touch and talk to Fou," Peko told reporter Paul Konyndyk. "His brother Philo is on my team right now, so I always know what is going on with Fou. He says nothing but great things about Michigan State. He loves it up there. He loves the coaches, the program, the players, everything."

Peko started all 12 games for Cerritos College last season, leading the defensive line with 39 tackles and ranking second on the team in quarterback hurries (13) and tackles for loss (8). Tennessee, Utah, Pittsburgh, Kansas State and Brigham Young also have offered full scholarships.

The graduations of defensive tackles Anthony Rashad White and Tyler Hoover after the 2012 season means that the Spartans will have a significant need at that spot.

Peko, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, has indicated that he is not in a hurry to make his college choice. He plans on taking official visits before he decides. Look for Michigan State to host Peko and his family on campus sometime this fall or winter.
Spartan QB commitment set to move into rankings

Michigan State quarterback prospect Damion Terry of Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep is unranked by, but the recruiting service is updating its rankings to reflect the spring camp and combine season. Terry, who attended the Elite 11 quarterback camp, is expected to be elevated to a three-star recruit. Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt had the following to say about Terry, after observing him at the Elite 11 camp:

“Terry is not a finished product, but the raw tools are certainly there. He is a big, strong-armed kid and appeared all of his listed 6-4 and 210 pounds. Terry effortlessly throws with power and should be able to have an even bigger arm once he gets his mechanics down. He has a tendency to palm the football during delivery and loses some velocity because of it. He will need to sharpen his footwork as well, but the sky is the limit, potentialwise, once he gets the finer points of the position down.”

Samson Satele Was Apparently Very Good In Oakland Last Year

by Brad Wells on May 18, 2012 11:13 AM EDT in Colts Analysis

Garrett Ellwood - Getty ImagesMore photos »

"Come at me, bro!" (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/Getty Images)

Based on tweets from what appears to be his official Twitter account, new Colts center Samson Satele lost his grandfather recently. Condolences to him and his family if true.

For those that know next to nothing about the man who is replacing likely Hall of Fame center Jeff Saturday as the anchor of the Colts offensive line, Satele is one of the more underrated players in the NFL. Offensive line players rarely get publicity, especially guys who play in the trenches. Jeff Saturday gets a lot of attention because 1) He's great on camera, 2) He's a huge big wig within the NFL players union, and 3) He's really good.

Satele is more inline with pretty much every other NFL interior lineman. He's quiet. He's unassuming. He's tough.

However, just because you likely never heard of the guy before the Colts signed him doesn't mean he stinks, or anything. Per Pro Football Focus and writer Khaled Elsayed, Satele had some impressive performances last year for Oakland Raiders.

Elsayed and PFF are in the middle of their 2011's Best Performances series, profiling the Top 10 best performances that players did at their respective positions. For the center position, the Texans Chris Myers and Satele were the only players to be ranked more than once for their play in 2011. Myers tied for the 10th best performance with the Browns Alex Mack, got the second best performance (Week 9 v. Cleveland), and the No. 1 performance by a center in 2011 (Week One against... ugh, the Colts).

For Satele, here is where his performances ranked:
4t. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 3 vs. New York Jets (+4.6)

You don’t often see a center do so well against Sione Pouha and Mike Devito, but other than getting beaten badly once by Devito, Satele enhanced his reputation with a strong display. Giving up no pressure and winning both in the trenches and at the second level, the Raider was exceptional.
8. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 15 vs. Detroit (+4.2)

The problem with Satele is you never quite know what you’re going to get. When he’s on form, he has talent that many centers in the league would struggle to replicate, though he too often fails to deliver. That wasn’t a problem in Week 15, with the Raider not allowing a single pressure and not grading negatively once in the run game.

I've heard lots of positive things about Satele. So, the knock regarding a lack of consistency is interesting. It seems there is no doubting his talent. Perhaps the environment that was Oakland, before Reggie McKenzie showed up to clean house, just didn't help him play at the level he is capable of. So far, Satele seems to like Indianapolis. Maybe the change of venue, coaching staff, and team culture will help him.

DT Paul Soliai on returning to the Dolphins

DT Paul Soliai on returning to the Dolphins despite being an unrestricted free agent: “During the whole process I told my agent (David Canter) I didn’t want to leave, so I just left everything to him. I told him whatever the Dolphins are willing to do, I’ll stay. I was happy to sign, so I’ll just enjoy my time here and try to do my best.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Troy Polamalu NFL’s Elite Players

Troy Polamalu, Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers

Troy Polamalu will enter the Hall of Fame five years after his playing days are over, but he is no longer the most dominant force on the football field. Injuries have slowed Polamalu to where quarterbacks are beginning to bait him with success. Make no mistake, Troy is still a big play guy but more risk comes with those big plays.

Junior Seau's restaurant closing in wake of ex-Charger's death

Associated Press
Published: May 16, 2012 at 10:39 p.m.

SAN DIEGO -- A San Diego restaurant opened by Junior Seau in 1996 has closed its doors two weeks after the NFL star's suicide.
Wyche: Life after football
In light of the bounty saga, Junior Seau's suicide and mounting lawsuits, Steve Wyche explains why some fear retirement. More ...

Trustees of Seau's estate say they made the decision to close Seau's The Restaurant in Mission Valley on Wednesday.

Trustee Bette Hoffman says in a statement that the decision to close the restaurant was made to honor Seau's legacy. She also says trustees felt the restaurant's future profitability could be in question without Seau's leadership.

The eatery's website describes it as San Diego's largest sports-themed restaurant, with 60 TVs offering contemporary American grill cuisine.

Seau was a mainstay of the San Diego Chargers' defense in the 1990s after starring at Southern California.

He was found dead in his home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound May 2. He was 43.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Samson Kafovalu Colorado Buffs 2012 signee

HIGH SCHOOL—He is ranked as the No. 77 player in the Far West region by SuperPrep, and is ranked as the No. 4 defensive end out of the state of California. Scout ranked him as the No. 64 defensive end prospect in the nation. In both his junior and senior seasons, he earned recognition as a first-team All-CIF Southern Section Central Division defensive lineman. As a sophomore, he was a second-team All-CIF Southern Section Central Division performer. A three-year starter and four-year letterman, he was Arlington’s defensive lineman of the year in both his junior and senior seasons. For his career, he compiled 127 tackles, four quarterback sacks, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. As a senior, he had 56 tackles (12 solo) and 2 1/2 sacks that totaled 13 lost yards. Top performances include a 63-14 win over Vista del Lago during his senior season, when he had six tackles and scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in his only career carry. Other top games as a senior came in a 31-14 loss to La Sierra (nine tackles, one sack) and in a 28-0 loss to Rancho Verde (five tackles, one fumble recovery). Under coach Pat McCarthy, the Lions went 29-15 in his four seasons (5-6 his senior year, 9-3 his junior year, 10-2 his sophomore year, 5-6 his freshman year). He also played basketball as a freshman, but did not letter and gave the sport up to concentrate on football.

ACADEMICS—He had a 3.3 grade point average in high school, and is considering Communication as his major at Colorado.

Josh Tupou Colorado Buffs 2012 signee

HIGH SCHOOL—Despite only playing on defense his senior season, SuperPrep ranks him as the No. 88 player in the Far West Region and the No. 82 player from California (No. 5 defensive tackle). Scout ranks him as the No. 70 defensive tackle in the country. As a senior at Buena Park, he was named the Freeway League Defensive Player of the Year, and earned first-team All-Freeway League, first-team All-CIF Southern Section and second-team All-Orange County. He transferred to Buena Park from Orange High School prior to his senior season. At Orange, he was a first-team All-Golden West League selection on the offensive line as a junior. He played both ways as a defensive tackle and offensive guard as a senior, as well as both field goal units on special teams. He had 60 tackles with three-and-a-half sacks and four forced fumbles his senior year. He claims he doesn’t have a top or most memorable game in high school because he plays at the same speed all the time. He also threw the shot put on the track and field team.

ACADEMICS—He is undecided on a major at Colorado but is interested in Psychology or History as possible areas of study.

PERSONAL—He was born May 2, 1994 in Long Beach, Calif. He has three cousins playing college football, including two in the Pac-12. A cousin, Mo Latu, plays at Arizona State, while Walton Taumoepeau plays at New Mexico State and Siosifa Tufunga at Washington. His uncle is former CU defensive tackle Vili Maumau, who played defensive tackle from 1994-97 for the Buffaloes and in the NFL with the Broncos. He enjoys hanging out with his family and playing football and basketball. (Last name is pronounced TWO-POE)

Viliami Moala Competing for starting job

The noseguard talks about competing for a starting job, and the Bears' young defense.
Video: California's Viliami Moala

71 Danny Shelton to fill in the gap left from Taamu

Danny Shelton, Washington, DT: The U-Dub defense was brutal in 2011, ranking 108th in scoring D and 106th in total D. They also were No. 87 in TFLs and No. 76 in run defense. Still, the revamped Huskies had some holes in the middle of that defense to replace, starting with massive Alameda Ta'amu, a fourth-round pick of the Steelers. The new Washington defensive staff though is very, very excited about the development of Shelton. The 6-1, 325-pound sophomore, who made 11 tackles last season, adjusted to the new system and techniques the best, U-Dub DL coach Tosh Lupoi says.

Lupoi knows plenty about disruptive D-linemen from producing more than his share at Cal. He says Shelton, a former state champion shot putter, has (former Cal first-rounder) Tyson Alualu-type hands and strike but is 325-pounds (as opposed to Alualu's 295) and that Shelton has the heft and explosiveness to be a two-gap defensive end at the next level. Better still, Shelton is smart and coachable.

Junior Seau’s home burglarized

Posted by Mike Florio on May 15, 2012, 10:34 PM EDT
Getty Images

Here’s a sad and pathetic footnote to the death of linebacker Junior Seau. His house in Oceanside, California was burglarized last week, according to the North County Times.

Police say that, on May 7, someone used the dog door to force entry through the garage door, rummaged through cabinets in the garage, and stole a $500 bike that belonged to one of Seau’s friends.

Only the garage was entered, not the other areas of the home.

Of course, that doesn’t make it any better. Here’s hoping they catch whoever did it, not because of the bike but because of the thought that anyone would enter any portion of Seau’s home in search of things to steal.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Troy Polamalu Irreplaceable Player on NFL Roster

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Who brings more intensity to the field than Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Troy Polamalu? Other than Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, the list is pretty short.

The unquestioned emotional leader of the Steelers' defense, Polamalu has a unique ability to fly across the field, showing an unmatchable range in pursuing tackles and sniffing out big plays.

Look for Polamalu to continue to serve as a face of a very intimidating Steelers' defensive unit as it looks to make up for an embarrassing playoff exit last season.

Paul Soliai Irreplaceable Player on NFL Roster

Miami Dolphins: Paul Soliai

Marc Serota/Getty Images

One of the Miami Dolphins' defensive leaders, defensive tackle Paul Soliai was critical in the team's rushing defense, which ranked third in the league in 2011.

Soliai surprised many by returning to the team with a new deal in March. His return should be a big boost as the team makes adjustments to its formations for 2012.

Soliai's greatest skill may be his versatility, as he has the ability to play both in the interior or the exterior of the defensive line, boosting his already-high value to the defensive unit.

Peyton Siva Talks Louisville Basketball On National Radio

by Mike Rutherford on May 16, 2012 10:49 AM EDT in Basketball

Peyton Siva appeared on the Inside College Basketball radio program with Jeff Goodman (and special co-host Robbie Hummel) Tuesday night and talked about the biggest keys for next season, how the team was able to turn it around last season, and how it will handle lofty expectations heading into next year.

As far as preparing the younger guys on the team as Louisville heads into a season where it is expected to start off ranked in the top five, Siva says humility is key.

"We've got to keep hem level-headed and not let last year's Final Four success go to their heads," Siva said. "Especially in today's world where you've got Twitter and Facebook and everybody's going to tell you how good you are. You can easily get sidetracked by rankings and what other people say, but everybody's got to stick together. It's our job as captains to get them mentally prepared."

You can listen to Peyton's full interview right here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

IFAF U-19 World Championship 8 COUNTRIES, 12 GAMES, 1 CHAMPION Burger Stadium | AUSTIN, TX | June 30 - July 7, 2012

Head coach: Pooch Taase

American Samoa makes its debut at the IFAF Under-19 World Championship as the sole Oceania representative. One of the smallest countries in IFAF, American Samoa has produced more NFL players per capita than any U.S. state, with 30 NFL players among its population of 55,519.American Samoa beat Australia, 93-7, in a torrential downpour to win the 2012 Oceania Bowl and qualify for a spot in Austin. Running back and offensive MVP Faafouina Sitagata carried 12 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns in the rout that saw three inches of rainfall throughout the game. Nathaniel Tuamohelo had 99 yards and a touchdown as American Samoa ran for 359 yards as a team. Elliot Peters had three catches, all for touchdowns, while Shalom Luani scored on a punt return, interception return, 2-point run and kicked an extra point.

American Samoa Football Overview

American Samoa embraced American football during the 1960s when NFL games became available on television. The island of just 55,000 people has since produced more than 200 American Samoans who have played college football and 30 in the NFL, including Domata Peko of the Cincinnati Bengals and Jonathan Fanene of the New England Patriots.

The sport is played in six high schools in American Samoa, and the annual Samoa Bowl brings teams to compete on the island from Autralia, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Ngata: Title-game loss 'took a lot out of me'

  May 15, 2012, 4:27 pm
The 2011 season was a memorable one for Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. He signed a five-year, $61 million contract, one of pro football’s largest, shortly after the season began.

He also helped the Ravens get within a couple of botched plays of a trip to the Super Bowl, which would have been a first for Ngata.

But he dealt with a thigh injury throughout the second half of the season, and of course, the Ravens’ campaign abruptly ended with a crushing loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC title game.

After all those highs and crushing lows, Ngata was exhausted.

“That game definitely took a lot of emotion out of me,” Ngata said in an interview posted on the Ravens’ official website Tuesday. “I just took a full month off. It felt good to just kind of get some rest and get my mind right."

Even though he earned his third Pro Bowl selection while totaling 65 tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles,“this year was probably the hardest, the worst I’ve felt at the end of the season," he said. "We went further (in the playoffs) and I think I played more snaps this year than other years. This past season took a lot out of me. And that loss just kind of sucked, so it took a little bit more.”

Ngata confirmed that, as Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome stated two months ago, he underwent a procedure after the season to repair the thigh injury. He feels “really good” now, he told the team site, and anticipates adding 10 pounds of playing weight in 2012. That would put him at 340.

“I think I could probably push the pocket better with a little more weight,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

As for the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who will miss four to six months with an Achilles injury, Ngata said, “Suggs is irreplaceable. There’s no one in this world that can replace Terrell. But I think coach Harbaugh said it best: the next guy up has to do his best to replace him.

“I think we’re always going to be a great defense. A lot of it has to do with the veterans helping out the rookies as much as they can, and the rookies doing their best trying to fill in that spot. I think we have a lot of guys that could do well. We’ll see what goes on during camp. Hopefully we can get back to the AFC championship again and this time get to the Super Bowl.”

More from Jake Muasau on earning an NFL contract

7:50 am May 15, 2012, by Doug Roberson

Former Georgia State linebacker Jake Muasau was invited to work out for the New York Giants and earned a contract that will give him a chance to make either the 53-man roster, or eight-man practice squad.

Muasau took some time to answer a few questions about his experience.

Oh, and look for a story in Sunday’s paper that will (hopefully) tell you where Muasau’s courage comes from.

Q: You and [Raiders draftee] Christo Bilukidi are trailblazers for Georgia State’s team as the first two players to make it to an NFL camp. Does that make you proud?

A: I’m very proud. During rookie camp, talking to rookies and veterans, meeting a lot of them, there are guys from the big schools all over the country, Virginia Tech, LSU, etc, and they see my sweats with Georgia State on them.

They would say, “Where’s that?”

I would say, “It’s a I-AA program in Atlanta.”

They would say, “They’re like Georgia Tech?”

I would say, “No, Georgia State.”

Talking with Christo last night we had already made history as the first football program at Georgia State. Now we’ve made history as the first football players in the NFL. We were giving each other words of encouragement.

Q: Was there a moment in camp where you said to yourself, “I can do this”?

A: A couple of weeks before camp I had that moment. I was claiming it [a roster spot]. I was thinking positive. I was looking at the best of the situation; they didn’t draft a linebacker. They brought six linebackers in for a tryout in the rookie camp. They signed me. During the fist day I was really trying to go out there and do my best, show my personality on and off the field.

When I’d get sore, Philippians 4:13 kept going through my head. It gave me juice to grind it out and work hard. It was amazing because after the second practice on Saturday which ended the rookie camps, coach Coughlin separated the drafted guys from the undrafted guys.

We took a knee and an NFL guy was talking to us, letting us know that they thanked us for coming out, telling us to stay ready, best of luck, basically a thanks for playing speech. And then coach Coughlin came over and was letting everybody know thanks for coming. While he was up there talking to us, I was thinking “‘This can’t be it.” I didn’t want to be back at the hotel stressing out.

After the talked for a few minutes, he ended the huddle and we said “Team” on 3.

As we dispersed, I took one step back, and turned around and one of the Giants scouts had his hand out, and said, “Jake, we love you, you had a great camp, we want to sign you.” I shook his hand, gave him a big old hug and put him back down. He said, “Call your agent.”

Some of the other guys overheard that, as soon as he said that I sprinted to the locker room. I got to the lockerroom and called my agent, called my family.

It’s a day I’ll never forget.

Q: What was your best play in camp?

A: I didn’t have any interceptions in the seven-on-sevens. I had a pass break-up. I jumped up pretty high and knocked the ball down. I just went out there and showed them my skills. They have me at middle linebacker out there. It was a different transition to that.

Q: Were you influenced by Junior Seau?

A: Most definitely. Junior Seau was an amazing player. My mother actually told me that somewhere down the line we were related. He’s been one of my favorite players going up. He opened doors to the NFL with the Samoan culture.

Without him, Samoan players might not have been getting picked up and drafted. He was the guy.

Q: When you signed with Georgia State, did you ever think you would one day be in the NFL?

A: No, I did not. Going into Georgia state, I was more focused on building the program and being a part of history. I had aspirations of playing in the NFL.

Ravens DT Haloti Ngata (quadriceps) feels "really good"

Posted: 1 hrs 54 mins ago. | Source

Ravens DT Haloti Ngata (quadriceps) feels "really good" after taking time off to rest and recuperate after the season. The Ravens official website says Ngata underwent a "procedure" after the season, but the attached link has no mention of any procedure, much less a surgery

Former Stanford receiver Chris Owusu looks for fresh start with the San Francisco 49ers

By Mark Emmons
Posted: 05/10/2012 10:04:18 PM PDT
Updated: 05/14/2012 04:51:48 PM PDT

Former Stanford wideout Chris Owusu met with reporters on the eve of Friday's mini-camp for 49ers rookies and talked at length about how excited he is to begin his NFL dream.

But there was one word that he never once uttered: concussion.

Owusu's name has become synonymous with the growing brain-trauma problem in football. He suffered three concussions over a 13-month period -- including two that prematurely ended his senior season -- and that history frightened off teams in the recent NFL draft.

"I just want to move forward," Owusu said Thursday. "It's unfortunate that I'm part of this conversation. But hopefully in the next couple of months, I'll finally get to change that. I don't want to be known as someone who is surrounded by this topic."

Signing as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers reunites Owusu with former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Owusu is a big-play threat whose blistering 4.36-second time in the 40-yard dash tied him for the fastest at the NFL combine among receivers.

But he will have to overcome a reputation for not having great hands. And it won't be easy making the roster as the 49ers have spent the offseason upgrading the team's weakest position -- drafting Illinois' A.J. Jenkins in the first round and adding free agents Randy Moss and Mario Manningham.

The bigger issue, however, is how a guy who had trouble taking hits on Saturdays

will handle the even bigger blows that are dished out on Sundays. Owusu knows there's only one way to prove that he is not concussion-prone.

"I can't wait to take that first big hit and get right back up," he said.

Owusu had a frustrating final two years at Stanford because of injuries. Last season, concussions limited him to 10 games and 35 receptions for 376 yards and two touchdowns. His college career essentially ended Nov. 5 after a helmet-to-helmet hit against Oregon State, where he lay on the field for about five minutes. Owusu wasn't medically cleared to play in the Fiesta Bowl or the Senior Bowl.

But after the season, Owusu passed cognitive tests. And two leading brain-injury authorities have told this newspaper that there is no reason a concussed athlete shouldn't continue his career as long as the injury has been properly managed. Dr. Robert Cantu, a Boston University neurologist, said in February that "it doesn't mean that their future has been doomed in any way."

Dr. Mitchel Berger, a member of the NFL's head, neck and spine medical committee, added on Thursday: "He should be given a chance. No doubt about it."

Yet NFL teams acted as if Owusu didn't exist.

"He's off our board," one anonymous general manager told Sports Illustrated, adding it wouldn't have mattered if Owusu had been the eventual No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III. —‰... With that kind of history it's not worth the risk of him being seriously injured, especially with all the attention you're going to receive."

The league is facing a public-relations crisis. A mounting wave of lawsuits, which now involves nearly 2,000 former players, alleges that the NFL was deceptive about the long-term effects of head trauma. Last week, football was rocked by the suicide of Junior Seau -- the third ex-player to take his own life in 15 months after Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling.

While it's unknown if Seau's death is connected to playing football, it adds to the climate of uncertainty about concussions.

"The fears and the anxiety are completely justified right now in football," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "But the important thing is that we listen to what the experts are telling us. Chris has been tested more than any other player in the country. If an expert tells Chris or any player that he shouldn't play, then they shouldn't. But he has been cleared, and he's ready to go."

Agent Steve Caric prepared a chart comparing Owusu with the four wide receivers taken in the first round. Owusu's performance at the NFL combine topped them all in virtually every measurable category. He trailed only Jenkins in the three-cone and 20-yard shuttle drills.

"Talent isn't the reason he wasn't drafted," Caric said. "He should have been a Top 90 player."

Owusu knows that he'll be trying to break into a crowded receiving/kick returning corps that includes holdovers Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr. and Kyle Williams. But he wanted to play again for Harbaugh and Roman.

Shaw said he understands why teams considered Owusu too great a risk. But they also knew there was a risk by passing on him.

"Pro scouts told me their worst fear was that they would be watching him take one back to the house against their team and they'd be saying, 'I wish we had cleared him to play,' " Shaw said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ute Hoop Diaries: Rita Sitivi

Rita Sitivi

Westminster, Calif.
High School:
Marina HS

Levrets on Sitivi: "Rita is recovering from an offseason knee injury. As she gets healthy she will provide depth in the back court. Rita is a great teammate and is always trying to help her team become better."

Fast Breaks
A tough player who is comfortable driving inside.

2010-11 (Sophomore)
Saw action in four games ... played four minutes against Green Bay (11/27) ... four minutes with two assists and a reabound against Westminster (12/6) ... two steals in five minutes against Southern Oregon (12/20) ... three minutes against Air Force (1/5).

2009-10 (Freshman)
Played in eight games ... 1.1 rebounds per game ... four total points ... 2-for-3 from the free-throw line ... saw first collegiate action against Minnesota (11/17) ... pulled down five rebounds in 14 minutes with a block and a steal against Westminster (12/12) ... an assist, a steal and a rebound in nine minutes vs. Utah Valley (1/6) ... two points with a rebound in two minutes against TCU (1/9) ... two points with a rebound, going 2-for-2 from the free-throw line against Air Force (1/23) ... seven minutes against Air Force (2/24).

High School
Rated as one of the top 10 guards in California and 98th nationally by Scouts, Inc. ... 2009 second-team All-CIF Southern Section ... 2009 Kiwanis/PlyoCity High School All-Star Basketball Game (big schools) ... averaged 18 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in 2009 ... four-time all-Sunset League, including earning MVP honors as a senior and sophomore with first-team honors her junior and freshman years ... academic all-league ... played AAU ball for Cal Swish Black 1.

Daughter of Reuben and Christina Sitivi ... Sept. 10, 1991 ... majoring in sociology.

Be Like Mike: Breakdown of Andrew Iupati, Trying Out for the 49ers

by Dylan DeSimone on May 13, 2012 10:00 AM PDT in 49ers Rookies

Ezra Shaw - Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have brought in a plethora of talent and added many new names this offseason between the draft and free agency. Some of the names like LaMichael James and Randy Moss are familiar because of what they've done on the gridiron. But one of the names was familiar for a whole other reason.

Humboldt State University's Andrew Iupati will be working out with San Francisco, trying to make the very same team for which his brother Mike Iupati starts. Some families just mesh with football; take a look at the Matthews family, the Manning family, the Harbaugh family and recently the Pouncey's have gotten in on the action.

Like his brother Mike, Andrew is a big physical guy with a very similar approach to the game of football. In this piece, we will break down defensive tackle Andrew Iupati and where he stands with the San Francisco 49ers.

During his collegiate career, Andrew played the defensive tackle position where his best trait was the use of his hands. Iupati showed the consistent ability to shed blockers with his arms, shift his weight, throw them aside and charge like a bull into the opponent's backfield. He is able to engage and disengage with precision before making the tackle.

What I mean by this was his timing: he would read the play while occupying the offensive lineman, then shed him the moment before he was ready to make the tackle - it showed he was in total control. And in all this mess, it was the work he did with his hands and upper body that really led to his success.

Iupati also has a great motor, and on film, he can be seen chasing guys up field and even making the tackle on a few occasions. He's a player that is full-go until the whistle blows.

For his size (6'1", 310-pounds), Iupati displays athleticism and quickness in his spin move and lateral agility. With this comes great burst off the line, as Iupati is usually the first one off the ball and plowing into the opponent's backfield. He's very good at causing disruption, which is essential for a 3-4 defensive lineman.

He is capable of driving his man backward with his fierce bull rush. He is very strong, and even according to his brother Mike, Andrew is a "way stronger" player - "lower body and upper body, he's way stronger." He has value as both a run stuffer and pass rusher in most defensive systems - he has great potential as a bull rusher, looking unstoppable when he has the proper leverage.

Iupati doesn't miss a lot of tackles either; after disengaging, he typically dives and wraps up the offensive player cleanly. He also has a knack for making tackles for loss. In his senior season he was a constant presence, recording 9 tackles for losses, 5.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery.

And offenses knew he was "the guy," so he was often double-teamed, still bursting through to pressure the quarterback or stop the run. He was one man controlling an entire line of scrimmage - he was the focus and still looked very good.

He does occasionally over pursue, letting his weight get the best of him, but it can be tweaked. Iupati's instincts for the most part are pretty good; and for a small school lineman coming into be a backup and learn from pros, he's got the tools and highlights to earn a spot with DeMarcus Dobbs, Ian Williams and Ricky Jean-Francois.

What we know about young Iupati is that he dominated at a small school, and that 49ers will give him a fair look. In the "Harbaalke era," they've spent draft picks on guys in the trenches from Western Oregon, Appalachian State, Montana State and Wake Forest - they don't discriminate against lower level competition if you handle your business just the same.

Iupati needs to improve his improve footwork, and it would help him get much better push if he adjusted his technique. And sometimes he plays too high, but at only 6'1, it should be less of a problem in the NFL. Coming into the league, he can certainly improve his overall technique, but he is physically capable of assuming the role of an NFL lineman.

Given his intensity and physicality, I've often wondered what Mike Iupati would be like on defense. And because I consider Mike to be one of the toughest interior lineman in the NFL, I think having a chance with his younger brother Andrew on the defensive side of the ball could be an exciting move that yields positive results.

There are also some things Andrew doesn't get credit for: (1) He trains in the offseason with his brother Mike, which is a privilege considering the preparation and conditioning of a pro. (2) He was also recruited to Oregon, so he could have continued to play in the PAC-12 with a big name school but he decided to transfer because he believed it was in his best interest.

I would also bet that coach Harbaugh takes to the dynamic of brothers having an opportunity to play on the same team in the NFL. Harbaugh has been working to cultivate that family environment, and what better way than to have actual family on the same roster. Not that it needs to be mentioned, but he coaches in the same league as his own brother John, so he appreciates that sort of thing.

It's a very interesting situation, and I personally will be monitoring Andrew's progress because I think he's got what it takes to make the 90-man roster. I am very excited for the youngster and hope he takes advantage of this opportunity.

Andrew Iupati Attends 49ers Rookie Camp

Posted by Taylor Price on May 11, 2012 – 2:46 PM

In 2010 there was an Iupati at 49ers rookie camp. The same can be said in 2012.

Three years ago it was left guard Mike Iupati making his NFL debut as one of San Francisco’s two first-round selections. This time around, Iupati’s younger brother, Andrew, is trying out to make the 49ers.

Andrew Iupati is one of several players trying out during San Francisco’s three-day rookie minicamp. The 6-foot-1, 286-pound Humboldt State product, who transferred from the University of Oregon, just might be the most notable name in the bunch.

Unlike his brother, Andrew Iupati lines up on the defensive side of the ball as an interior lineman.

That being said, it didn’t stop the 49ers Pro Bowl alternate guard from giving his young brother words of wisdom prior to his tryout.

“I’d tell him to just keep working hard,” Mike Iupati said at the conclusion of this week’s voluntary Football School sessions on Thursday. “Can’t really say anything other than just go out and dominate.”

On Friday, the elder Iupati was at team headquarters once again to work out, and to take a sneak peak at how little brother was fairing.

“It feels great,” commented Andrew on having his brother’s support. “It’s a really good feeling.”

The Iupati brothers haven’t been on the same team since their time at Anaheim’s Western High School, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been following each other’s games. Whenever Andrew had the time last season, he’d make sure to watch 49ers games.

“Now I have a favorite team to watch,” he said.

Utah's Thretton Palamo moves to Defensive End

Utah's Thretton Palamo, a former rugby star who moved to defensive end from running back this spring, and had two sacks and four tackles for losses in three spring scrimmages. He'll help the Utes on the edge rushing the passer.

Bleacher Reports Best NFL Team of all Time Troy Polamalu

Strong Safety: Troy Polamalu

Career: 2003-present

Teams: Pittsburgh Steelers

Stats: nine sacks, 29 INTs

Achievements: seven pro bowls, five-time All Pro, 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, two-time Super Bowl champion

Runner-Up: Ken Houston

This is probably the first "controversial" pick on this list, but it's justified, especially if you do put several other safeties, specifically Ed Reed and Ronnie Lott, in their appropriate slot of free safety.

Despite the relative shortness of his career, Polamalu fits the strong safety mold better than any player before or since. He's a tremendous pass rusher, he hits with great intensity, he is as likely to catch a ball in the air as any wide receiver in the NFL and, most importantly, he can cover tight ends and the slot receivers that cornerbacks cannot.

Few strong safeties are that diverse and resourceful and few players in today's NFL mean as much to their team as Polamalu means to the Steelers. That's a tremendous litmus test for a player's candidacy for an All Time team.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

#41 Tyler Turituri Portland State U Football

2012 Football Roster

Position: S
Height: 6-2
Weight: 220
Class: Freshman
Hometown: Central Point, OR
High School: Crater

A highly regarded member of the 2011 signing class... was a redshirt in 2011... capable of playing a number of positions, but it appears his future is at safety... excellent size and athleticism.

A versatile player at Crater High School where he was a quarterback and a linebacker... rushed for 548 yards and seven touchdowns, passed for 613 yards and two touchdowns on the season... named first team All-Conference as a quarterback... team Offensive MVP and Player of the Year... a three-year letterwinner in football and three-year scholar-athlete.

Son of Natascha and Darren Turituri... born July 24, 1992... has two brothers, Derrick and Jaxson, and one sister, Simone... a member of the National Society of Academic Scholars... hobbies are video games, working out and basketball... majoring in Business Administration: Accounting... would like a career working with Nike.

#12 Lia Havili Murray State Volleyball

2011 Volleyball Roster

Position: Setter
Height: 5-9
Class: Junior
Hometown: Haltom City, Texas
High School: Haltom

BEFORE MSU: A transfer from Missouri State University-West Plains, a junior college powerhouse…NJCAA Region 16 Player of the Year…helped her team to two regional appearances and a national runner-up finish in 2009…as a freshman, she was named the NJCAA Newcomer of the Year…named to the NJCAA All-Regional team and was an honorable mention for NJCAA All-American as a sophomore…a three-year member of the Haltom High School volleyball squad in Haltom, Texas…earned two District Setter of the Year honors and was the team MVP for two seasons…a standout in the classroom, having been named to the Texas Academic All-State First team as a senior and second team as a junior.

Litara Keil loyola Marymount Volleyball

Long Beach, Calif.
High School:
Long Beach Poly
Litara Keil is in her first season with LMU volleyball...

A 2011 graduate of Long Beach Poly in Long Beach, Calif... a three-year varsity letterwinner for coach Leland McGrath... served as a team captain as a senior... named All-City in each of her final three seasons... garnered All-Conference recognition in her final year and All-League recognition in all three years of varsity play... an All-CIF selection as a senior... helped Long Beach Poly to a No. 1 ranking in the state of California during the 2010 season, while also ranking as high as No. 11 nationally according to guided her team to a runner-up finish at the CIF Division I Championship in 2010... earned All-CIF Southern Section honors in each of her last three seasons of play... tabbed All-Tournament at the prestigious Durango Tournament as a senior...

Litara Susitina Keil was born April 10, 1993... Nia and Ricky Keil... has three sisters, Mary, Matanofo and Sophie, and two brothers, Ricky and Frank... chose LMU because it has the course of study she is interested in, it is near her hometown, and it has a beautiful campus... a business management major.

#15 Abigail Lahutoi La Sierra University Volleyball

Height: 5-11
Class: FR
Position: MB
Hometown: Riverside, CA
Abigail Latuhoi is a freshman student who graduated from Norte Vista High School. She was the MVP and team captain all four years during high school. She was also all-league team her junior and senior year. Abigail likes to read, play basketball, watch movies, hang out with friends and family. Her major is undecided.

MUST SEE Troy Polamalu Ultimate Highlights

The Chiefs’ signing of DE Ropati Pitoitua

The Chiefs’ signing of DE Ropati Pitoitua went under the radar, but the team is hopeful he can make a quality impact. Pitoitua had 19 tackles for the Jets last season in a reserve role, and he’s comfortable in a 3-4 defense. At 6-foot-8, he will be asked to clog up running lanes and try to knock down passes with his long arms.

Lotulelei Named to Lott Trophy Watch List

May 7, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei has been named to the watch list for the 2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy, awarded annually to the top defensive IMPACT player of the year.

IMPACT is an acronym for Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Lotulelei is an All-America candidate who is coming off a first-team all-Pac-12 season when he won the 2011 Morris Trophy as the league's best defensive lineman, as voted on by the starting offensive linemen. Last season he was second on the team with 9.0 tackles for loss, finishing with 44 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Voting for the Lott IMPACT Trophy will take place throughout the season with the winner announced at the annual awards banquet Dec. 9 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai Texas Christian University Football

Haltom, Texas
High School:
Haltom High School
Height / Weight:
6-6 / 265

High School: A three-star offensive tackle ... ranked as the No. 40 offensive tackle in the nation and No. 3 in Texas ... rated No. 46 in the Texas Top 100 ... Named to the 2011 Star-Telegram Offensive Super Team ... graded out at 90 percent or more in nine of 10 games as a senior ... totaled 24 pancakes and 56 knockdown blocks ... chose TCU over Arkansas, Utah, Michigan State and Texas Tech.

Samia Sailinuu UC Irvine Track and Field

Year: Junior
Hometown: Rialto, Calif.
High School: Eisenhower HS
Position: Distance
Previous School: Eisenhower HS


Best times of the 2010 season were: 2:27.14 in the 800m, and 4:56.71 in the 1,500m...graduated from Eisenhower High school in 2009...holds both the freshman record and school record in the 1600m...was a strong leader and captain of the track and cross country teams at Eisenhower High... volunteers cleaning apartments in the Willow Apartment Project in Rialto and picks up trash at local parks...majoring in Urban Planning... parents are Bob and Denee Sailinuu...has three sisters, one of which is a twin, Sakia, who is also on the track team.

Sakia Sailinuu UC Irvine track and Field

Year: Junior
Hometown: Rialto, Calif.
High School: Eisenhower HS
Position: Sprints
Previous School: Eisenhower HS


Best times of the 2010 season were: 59.18 in the 400m at Fullerton, and 2:12.81 in the 800m at Northridge...graduated from Eisenhower High School in 2009... advanced through CIF finals, masters and into state in the 800m...Honor-Roll all four years...first freshman to be Private First Class in Marine Corps Junior ROTC...took first place in the Malibu Triathon... majoring in Urban Planning and Social Ecology...parents are Bob and Denee Sailinuu...has a twin sister, Samia, who is also on the track team.

Will Kofe D-Line Assistant Coach UC Davis

Assistant Coach (def. line)

Will Kofe, a former Arizona State defensive lineman and Pacific University assistant coach, will join the UC Davis football team as a defensive line coach for the 2012 season.

Most recently, Kofe was a defensive line coach at Pacific University during the 2010 season. He served under head coach Keith Buckley, a UC Davis transplant who was assistant head coach with the Aggies in 2007 and 2008 as part of a four-year stint. In the 2010 season, Kofe helped the start-up Boxers enter their first season of football in 19 years.

Prior to Pacific University, Kofe had a short stint as the defensive line coach at American River College. He also spent three years as the assistant defensive line coach on the Sacramento State staff. In his first year with the Hornets, Kofe assisted with the defensive line and helped lead Dallas Mauga and Blaine Jackson to all-Big Sky Conference honors.

A two-year starter with the Sun Devils, Kofe played in all 25 games during the 2005 and 2006 seasons, starting eight. He totaled 42 tackles (25 solo), seven tackles-for-loss and three sacks. As a senior, Kofe tallied 19 tackles and tied for fourth on the team with three sacks. He also recovered a fumble against Stanford and earned the start against No. 3 USC. Under head coach Dirk Koetter, Kofe was a two-time "Scholar-Baller Award" winner and was named the Sun Devils' Newcomer of the Year as a junior.

Before transferring to Arizona State, Kofe spent one year at Dixie State College. While there, he earned First Team All-Western States Conference accolades after recording 23.5 tackles, including 12 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Kofe began his career at Montana State University where he started and lettered as a true freshman. In all, Kofe lettered all four years in college and three years at the Division I level.

Kofe was a standout at prep powerhouse Long Beach Poly. As a senior, he started at both center and defensive end and was named First Team All-Moore League and all-CIF Div. I. He was also placed on the Long Beach Press-Telegram's Dream Team and the Los Angeles Times Dream Team. During his four years, the Jackrabbits lost just once in four years and earned No. 1 national rankings from both USA Today and ESPN.

Kofe earned a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Arizona State in 2007 and a master's in educational leadership from Sacramento State. His uncle, Alfred Pupunu was a longtime tight end for the San Diego Chargers