Moeakiola poised to make early impact

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that newcomer Viliami Moeakiola is slated not to redshirt. After all, the freshman safety hails from on the best high school programs in Texas and plays a position that already has suspect depth on ASU'a team. Yet, the soft spoken and humble Moeakiola doesn't take his solid fall camp performance and subsequent slating on the two-deep for granted.

"Every day is a challenge," Moeakiola said. "You have to come out and always compete for your spot. The depth chart won't be solidified in week one or week ten. Every practice you have to prove yourself.

"I'm just blessed to come out here every day and play the sport I love. I'm happy that I'm able to get all these reps and keep on working getting the scheme down and know what I need to do in all of these coverages."

A solid fall camp start for the 6-0 198-pound Viliami Moeakiola, was somewhat negated by a pulled hamstring injury he suffered, which held him out of contact for several practices.

In fortuitous timing the day he shed off the green non-contact jersey, starting safety Keelan Johnson was sidelined, paving the way for the true freshman to temporarily play on the first team and increase his exposure that much more.

"It's tough when you try to come out strong, make a statement and then the injury happens," Moeakiola admitted. "But the coaches always stress that you have to embrace adversity, accept the challenges and move on.

"So even though I had a good start, I'm not satisfied. I need to work on everything and I'm just thankful I have people back at home to support me, and good mentors on the team like Keelan and Alden Darby who I can always go up to and ask a question."

The former Euless Trinity player, has shown his prowess as both a physical player but also one who has ample speed and quickness to become a formidable coverage defender. Yet, like many freshmen Moeakiola realized fairly quickly that physical talent cannot always compensate for having a strong knowledge of the game and the scheme at hand.

"I need to work hard on knowing my playbook and knowing my calls," Moeakiola remarked. "I have to just sit down in the film room with guys like Darby and get it all down. If you don't know your stuff you won't be able to be on the field."

"I have my individual goals, but the team goals come first and I want to help this team get better."

While it may not be considered full blown adversity, it's no secret that the Sun Devil secondary at times has been quite challenged by the proverbial high octane ASU offense, which operates a no huddle and at a tempo where fast is never fast enough.

"This might be the hardest offense to cover," Moeakiola noted, "and when we go to the season things might slow down a little bit because our offense is so fast."

Moeakiola committed to UCLA in October of last year, however the change of regime in Westwood caused him to eventually rescind his pledge. Time and time again it has been proven that recruiting is strongly rooted in relationships and that theory materialized for the new coaching staff at Arizona State.

Moeakiola subtlety broadcasted his intentions to commit to the Sun Devils, but publicly acted on those sentiments only on Feb. 1, 2012, which was also National Letter of Intent Signing Day

The safety, who hails room the same high school that produced former Sun Devil players Saia Falahola and Dimitri Nance, chose ASU over reported offers from Arizona, Baylor, Colorado, North Texas, and Tulsa.

"There was a coaching change (at UCLA) and I was close to Coach Neuheisel and his staff," Moeakiola said. "I knew Coach Graham and Coach Norvell ever since my sophomore year when they were at Tulsa and I always kept in contact with them. I also had my cousin, David Moala on the team here (Moala was later dismissed in the spring for violation of team rules). I just prayed about it and when the opportunity opened up at Arizona State my family said that it was just best for me to go right here.

"I know I made the right decision because everywhere I go here people are so nice and welcoming. I like people who are generous and kind to people who they don't even know. That is just awesome to see."

His good vibe over the summer concerning his new surroundings certainly didn't cease when he went through Camp Tontozona.

"I loved the togetherness and building relationships with one another," Moeakiola recalled. "Once you know that person with you you'd be willing to die for him. We came back there as a family and there is nothing that we won't do for each other.

"The camp really made us stronger."

Will Moeakiola experience any nervousness when he takes to the field in his first ever college game? Coming from a high school that every home game had a stadium packed with 15,000 fans, may aid him to some extend to deal with a bigger stage and the atmosphere that comes with it.

"That (high school) environment can help you," Moeakiola claimed. "There are some great coaches and great players there so there are a lot of teams playing at a high level, but college football is obviously a whole different level."

"I'm so excited for my first week of college football. I watched it as a kid and now getting ready to experience it…it's a dream come true. It's an honor and a blessing to play with these guys and I'm so pumped up."

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