Introducing the 2005 Class: Beau Manutai

Many of the motivational sources for the Arizona State football players are the same. Aside from the natural self-motivation, the desire to succeed can also come from coaches, parents, peers, and friends. However, very few on the team can claim that their wife and child are the ones driving them to excel on and off the field. Linebacker Beau Manutai said that this notion is one that will never be overlooked.

"Most definitely my family motivates me to do well in football and school, " said Beau Manutai. "I'm reminded by that everyday. I have family that not only loves me but also depends on me. I'm the primary provider and that motivates me to be my best."

During his freshman year at Dixie State College, the linebacker was one of the leaders in tackles on a team, which finished third in the nation in the junior college ranks. Naturally, many four-year colleges starting knocking on the Dixie State's team captain's door. Manutai said that he was truly the happiest when Arizona State was one of the first to get in touch with him. "Coach Nordquist contacted me during my freshman year around spring practice," he said. "He was very sincere. He wasn't just making a phone call to get a good athlete down to his school. I was so stoked because I always liked Arizona State. My dream was to play in the Pac-10."

"I was so fired up, that I told everyone that Arizona State contacted me," Manutai continued. "They were on me pretty early, and the first school to call me directly on the phone. There may have been other schools that were recruiting me before Arizona State, but they were contacting my coach, not me." He added that he almost committed to Utah during the recruiting process, and that aside from that school BYU, Colorado State, and Boise State were all showing strong interest.

His success during his freshman year brought the inevitable pre-season honors. Manutai was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association Preseason All-American team, and was poised for a huge sophomore year. Even though he was able to lead his team in tackles with 40.5, he was concerned about his prospects when his Dixie playing days are over, due to an ankle injury that caused him to miss four games. "I was worried about my recruiting," he recalled. "I got an offer from Arizona State, and I shut down the door with everyone else because that's where I wanted to go. When I got injured it was devastating because I didn't want it to hinder my chances of going there."

Nevertheless, the Sun Devils still coveted him and had him visit close to the mid-year transfer signing day. Tempe was the first visit for him, and it's no coincidence that Dixie State's and now ASU teammate Will Kofe, was on the same trip. In fact, those two along with Zach Catanese committee to ASU during their trip. "Will and I felt that it was right to make a decision during the visit, even though it was a big decision, " he commented. "Will didn't push me to come here, and I didn't pressure him. We talked about it a lot. Being that we're both from California and went on missions, we had a lot in common. Arizona State was the only Pac-10 school recruiting us hard and we both wanted to play in that conference, so we said to each other ‘let's go! (smile)."

Playing At Dixie State, which is in the same league as several Maricopa County junior colleges, allowed the linebacker to get acquainted with the area he will call home for the next two years. "I was familiar with the area, so when I visited ASU it wasn't like I was visiting a new area," he explained. "But every time we came down here we were staying at a hotel, so we didn't drive around too much (smile). We did see the stadium from the freeway, and we were all fired up about that."

At Etiwanda (Calif.) High School Manutai started playing football in his junior year as a fullback and defensive end. In his two years there he earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior. He attended Ricks College for one year, but didn't play there. After his 19th birthday he embarked on a mission to Ecuador. "I love that place!" he exclaimed. "I thought I was coming to jungle, but flying there you saw that it was a third world country. I was in the capital Kito, and it was amazing to see such a big city. The people there are amazing and I learned so much from them. My Spanish was terrible when I got there. When I got off the plane it was scary because everyone was speaking so fast. But I picked it up pretty fast and people were patient with me. I'm fluent in Spanish now (smile)."

Serving on a mission usually enriches a person in some shape or form, and that was indeed the case with the linebacker. "There are so many things I learned," he said. "The most important thing I learned was discipline. When you're out on a mission, you have certain rules and guidelines that are hard to follow sometimes. You wake up everyday at 6:30 AM and preach the gospel. If you want to work out you have to wake up even earlier. That experience helps me focus and be disciplined when I play football."

When he's not playing football or attending class, Manutai spends every spare moment with his wife of one year Klorissa and his four-month old daughter Kenadee. He said that he doesn't feel that he's missing out when he isn't with his teammates having fun away from football and school. The so-called un-family experiences don't appeal to him. "I really don't have a desire to do that stuff," he said. "I look forward to coming home and seeing my daughter and wife. I think if I wasn't ready for marriage and I did have a family it would be tough. But that's not the case. I love having a family and it isn't a struggle for me. It is hard because I have to provide for them, but the good things about having a family outweigh the bad things. Having a family is a very powerful thing to have."

Manutai wrestled for two years in high school, and even won second-place in the C.I.F championship. However, not even that experience could have prepared him for what he encountered here in Tempe. "There's nothing like the workouts at Arizona State," he said. "When you wrestle you go through some intense workouts, but it's so much more intense and fast paced here. But I got stronger and I love it."

Thursday's spring practice will be the first one in pads. At the time of this interview, spring practice hasn't begun yet. Nevertheless, the linebacker couldn't hide his excitement for what is about to come. "I'm not sure what to expect from spring practice," he admitted. "But when the pads come on I get so fired up. When I got fitted for my pads and helmet I got goose bumps just putting them on. Right now I'm learning the defense, but when the pads come on it will all come out in practice and I'll show what I can do."

Ever since he was signed at ASU, there have been some rumblings that rather than playing middle linebacker, the 6-1 260 Manutai will be moved to defensive tackle. The JC transfer begged to differ. "I think somebody made that up (smile)," he said. "I heard a reporter say that, and there's no truth to that. My best position is linebacker. I'm really good at run defense. When it's a run play, I fill in the gaps. I love when the fullback comes thorough that hole and I'm blowing him up (smile). My ankle is my weakness. It's 95% but still a little sore. That's really the only thing that has inhibited me. But I'll be going full speed in the spring."

Manutai has three years to play two, and like his fellow JC transfers on the team he'll probably be expected to contribute right away. He did claim that he hasn't heard much talk on that topic yet. "The coaches haven't said anything about that, but they'll make the right decision about me and I'll play when they tell me." One thing Beau Manutai won't have to be told is to stay motivated on the field and in his classroom. The source of that inspiration is in his home, and with or without words is undoubtedly the most powerful encouragement guiding him on the gridiron and in life.

Recruit Profile


Beau Manutai

Junior College

Dixie College







Date of Birth



Upland, Calif.


"Just Beau."

Favorite TV Show

"American Idol"

Favorite Movie

"Walking Tall"

Favorite Singer/Band

"Brian McKnight"

Favorite Food

"Hawaiian BBQ"

Favorite Drink


Favorite Athlete

"Junior Seau"

Favorite Pro Team

"San Diego Chargers"

Person you most admire

"My dad. He's an inspiration for me. He has helped me with football and life in general. He has always been supportive of me and my decisions. He's my mentor and best friend."

First Football Memory

"Junior year in high school, it was the first time I played football. It was the first time we got pads on and I was very nervous. We had a practice at 12:01 AM and there were cameras there to cover the practice. We were all trying to get in the picture, and I got my picture in the newspaper (smile)."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I play the piano. I like to play classical music and R&B."

Why did you choose ASU?

"When I came down here and saw that stadium, I was very impressed. I had a vision (smile)."

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"On a beach somewhere surfing (smile)…Nah, I'll be working as Chiropractor here in Arizona or Southern California."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories