Fa'aita Looks To Coutinue Winning Tradition

Just as losing is infectious, so is winning. Junior College transfer Tim Fa'aita hasn't been on a losing team in quite a while. The offensive guard, by far the most heralded offensive lineman in the 2002 class, plans not only to continue his winning ways with the Sun Devils, but also spread that attitude among his new teammates

"When I played in Junior College, we won State both years, and the JC Gridwire national championship." Says the first team All-California Junior College selection. "It's important that I come from a winning program. Even though it's not Division I level, I still know what it takes to win and how to bring people together. I think we got team chemistry, and a desire to win. I'm not used to losing, and I don't want to lose at ASU."

Like fellow JC transfer Ishmael Thrower, Fa'aita was discovered when ASU coaches were taking a close look at his fellow teammates. "ASU started recruiting me around October." Recalls the second team All-American JC Gridwire selection "Before they talked to me they were talking to other offensive linemen on my team. They told me they saw film of me and they liked they way I played. They were telling me everything about the school and the program. I always wanted to play in the Pac-10. So, talking to them…I just felt that I was going to come here. I also have family in Mesa, and they always told me that I was gonna play here at ASU." Much has been said about the instant bond the Sun Devil coaches form with their recruits, and Fa'aita's was no exception. "Me and coach Grimes (ASU's Offensive Line coach) established a great relationship. He was calling me every other week; seeing how I was doing in class and other stuff. He always kept it real with me over the phone, and I liked that. When I came out here for the visit they (ASU) treated me real good, and I got to see how the team was and I liked it. The coaches and the players got along real well, and I knew this is where I wanted to be. I told coach Koetter at the end of my visit, that I wanted to come here." The offensive guard also mentioned "I visited Oregon St. and Indiana before I came to ASU. After I committed, I canceled visits to Missouri and Utah. Hawaii and Iowa called very late before signing day."

Being treated well by coaches is one thing. However, early playing time is always important to a JC transfer, who already exhausted two years of eligibility. Luckily for the Sun Devils, they had a very inexperienced offensive line. A fact that wasn't overlooked, to say the least, by Fa'aita: "It appealed to me that I could play right away. The fact that five seniors left ASU, played a big part in my decision. In my two years at San Francisco City College, I started all my games. Because the line is young and I have experience, I do think I pretty much have a spot in the starting lineup. But right now it's still open. With my accomplishments at the JC level, I know they'll give me shot here. I need to learn the system, and hang on to my spot. If I do that I'll be all right." Fa'aita has been enrolled in school since January. After somewhat of a rocky start, he has learned to enjoy all that his new environment has to offer: "The transition was slow at first, and I was home sick. But every college student goes through this. Now it's great. I just kick it with the other guys, and they're all cool. We go out and do a lot of stuff. I get a true sense of a team. Nobody thinks he's better than the others. We're a team on and off the field. Classes are cool too. It's way different than JC where I had more freedom. Now all your time is used up. You always gotta be somewhere at a certain time. But it's making me become a better person, and accountable for my own actions."

While the JC transfer definitely has the weight to play offensive guard (315 lbs), his 6-0 stature is quite rare for his position and raises a few eyebrows. Fa'aita is already used to the doubters "Ever since high school people have been telling me that I'm too small to play offensive lineman, but I'm here right now (smile). I compensate for my height with my strength, and quickness. I work hard in the weight room on those things, and my footwork." These days during spring practice, it's time for Fa'aita to prove to himself and others that he can be a vital contributor on the team: "Spring practice is a starting block for us JC guys. In the spring we'll find out where we stand with the rest of the team. Especially, on the offensive line it's a good time for us to find out how well we play with each other. We need to be a cohesive unit, and be comfortable with the techniques. I haven't proved anything on this level, so I have to work hard to be a starter."

It's no coincidence that ASU signed seven offensive linemen in its 2002 recruiting class. Some may call it damming evidence to the talent and depth of this unit. Nevertheless, players like Fa'aita can help this unit surprise its skeptics. Therefore, it is natural to peg him as a starter even before the first day of spring practice. Nevertheless, the JC transfer from San Francisco City College isn't taking anything for granted. To him it's all about strong ethic, which ultimately breeds winning. Tim Fa'aita is coming into the Sun Devil program as a champion, and he would love nothing more to end his ASU career the same way he came in.

Recruit Profile

Name

Tim Fa'aita (Pronounced fa-a-eeta)

High School

Jefferson HS, Daly City, CA

Position

Offensive Guard

Height

6-0

Weight

315 4.65

Date of Birth

4/30/81

Hometown

Daly City, CA

Nickname

Just Tim

Favorite TV Show

Martin

Favorite Movie

Menace To Society

Favorite Singer

Fiji

Favorite Food

Samoan Food

Favorite Drink

Gatorade

Favorite Athlete

Ray Lewis

Favorite Pro Team

San Francisco 49ers

Person you most admire

My three brothers, Sam, James, Mark. They all played Football when I was growing up. They're the reason I am what I am today. Two of them had to leave school early because of other problems. I saw what they went through, and that's why I am where I am.

First Football Memory

My first day of practice as a freshman. That's when we started hitting. I never played Football before that.

One Thing most people don't know about me

My personality. Some people see a big guy that plays Football, and are afraid to approach me ands talk to me. But I'm new here and I'm trying to meet people. I'm just a nice and low-key guy.

Why did you choose ASU?

The team chemistry. I went on other visits, and those teams didn't act like a family. You can't win if you can't trust the guys you're playing with. Even though ASU lost last year, they stuck together.

Where do you want to be in ten years?

Have a decent job. I know I will get a degree (Tim is majoring in Sociology.), so I hope I get a good job and have a family. If Football works out for me, great. But I'm here to get a degree for me and my family.

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