East (Salt Lake City, Utah) senior offensive lineman Sione Angilau Jr. did not play football until his freshman year of high school.
“The only thing I played was soccer, for fun,” Angilau said Friday. “Then when I started playing football, it became the love of my life, man.”
He certainly made up for lost time. On Friday, Angilau received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey at his school as part of the Army All-American Selection Tour Presented by American Family Insurance.
Angilau, a 6-6, 297-pound four-star, is ranked as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 5 player in the state of Utah, according to the 247Sports Composite. He’s uncommitted, but is weighing 20 offers that include Alabama, Texas, USC, Utah, Washington, Oregon, and others.
“This honor means everything to me,” Angilau said. “It’s a great way to represent East High and the state. Just going out and playing and trying to represent our school – we’ve got players. It’s exciting.”
It wasn’t until last year that Angilau started hearing about the All-American games. Upon hearing about the U.S. Army All-American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance, Angilau made a promise to himself.
“I said, ‘I’m going to go to that one,’ ” he said. “Without my teammates and my coaches, I wouldn’t be in this game.”
Angilau also shines at defensive tackle for East.
“I just love being on the field, man,” he said. “Wherever you need me, I’ll be the guy. If you need me at QB, I’ll do the best I can. Although I’ll probably throw an interception.”
Saying he loves watching the defensive play of the Rams’ Aaron Donald and the offensive play of the Cowboys’ Tyron Smith, Angilau has come a long way from when he started playing football just three years ago.
“I want to give all the credit to this program,” he said. “On the freshman team, I think I was the worst player. I loved the ground, was always on the ground. But my coaches and teammates helped me grow into a nasty person on the field and a good person off it. I give all the credit to them. Having the coaches I had, they taught me everything those first two years.”
The two-time defending state champions, East High is 8-1 heading into Friday night’s big matchup with IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.). Angilau said he is saving all his recruiting plans for after the season.
“We’ve got to get that ring,” he said. “I’m just taking it one step at a time, making sure we take care of business this season. The college stuff will come after that.”
The U.S. Army All American Bowl presented by American Family Insurance is scheduled for Jan. 6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and will be televised live on NBC at 1 p.m. EST.