Football

Mesa's Nami Tuitu'u commits to Utah State

Mesa senior offensive lineman/defensive lineman Nami Tuitu'u says he has committed to Utah State and will play in the Jan. 21 Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.

Mesa senior offensive lineman/defensive lineman Nami Tuitu’u says he has committed to Utah State and will play in the Jan. 21 Polynesian Bowl in Hawaii.

Mesa senior two-way lineman Nami Tuitu’u said he has given a verbal commitment to Utah State, but added that he’ll wait until after an official visit Jan. 13-15 before deciding to sign.

Former Mesa linebacker Kyler Fackrell blossomed at Utah State, before being taken by the Green Bay Packers in last year’s NFL draft.

Tuitu’u, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, who had 66 tackles last season, could play on either side of the line in college.

He also was chosen to play in the Polynesian Bowl on Jan. 21 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii, along with Phoenix Mountain Pointe senior safety Isaiah Pola-Mao. The game will be streamlined on ESPN3.

“Nami has typical Polynesian DNA,” said Mesa coach Kap Sikahema, who is also Polynesian. “The nicest and most respectful kid off the field but has the Polynesian warrior mentality to depose your opponent in submission.

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“He is great with his hands in hand-to-hand combat setting, which he needs on the next level. He’s hungry. He wants to make his mother proud and he has the will to succeed. That is his driving force, his love for his mom and siblings. That’s pretty powerful.”

Tuitu’u said he is honored to be selected for the bowl game.

“It’s such an honor to be invited to play in that game and go up to Hawaii and represent not only my school and state but myself and my family,” he said. “Especially my Tongan side, which is my mom’s side, and all my family around the world and back in Tonga. It’s truly a blessing to be a part of something so special and to be able to go up there and compete with all of those other amazing athletes who are going to some of the best Division I programs around. I’m excited.”

Vai Sikahema, a former Mesa High, BYU and NFL standout, who is the brother of Kap, will be part of the ESPN3 broadcast of the Polynesian Bowl.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at richard.obert@arizonarepublic.com or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.