Things Working Out for Sekona

For many athletes, the chance to play at the Division I level is an answer to prayer. Such is the case for one BYU football player, however it was not the prayers of this player that were answered when he suited up for his first practice as a Cougar.

Like many before him, Sosiua "Siua" Sekona did not take the most direct of routes to Provo and the BYU football team. However, after a few detours on the way, the San Diego native is beginning his second year in Provo and if all goes as planned, he could soon receive a scholarship for his efforts on the practice field.

Sekona (pronounced "Seh-CONE-Ah") accepted a scholarship out of high school to play football for the University of Hawaii. He played as a freshman at linebacker before serving a full-time LDS mission to Argentina.

"I signed at Hawaii out of high school," Sekona said. "So I played at Hawaii as a freshman and then went on my mission and came back to Grossmont [Community College]. I did well out there but tore my MCL in the second to the last game so I was done."

At Grossmont College, Sekona played alongside fellow BYU teammates Joe Griffin and Todd Watkins. However despite his play prior to his knee injury, college coaches backed off the Grossmont linebacker fearing his previous injury wouldn't be worth the risk in offering a scholarship.

"A lot of colleges didn't want to take a chance on me, so what ended up happening was I saw Coach [Barry] Lamb and Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall at one of the JC combines and I told them my information," Sekona said.

Coach Mendenhall and Lamb listened to Sekona talk about his desires to be at BYU. After listening to him, they asked him to send them some film of his previous season.

Sekona sent them the requested film and kept in touch with the BYU coaches. Eventually the coaches came to Sekona with an irony The response he got from coaches was both surprising and interesting. After viewing the film, the coaches told Sekona they wanted to pray about it.

"They prayed about it and then told me to come out here last summer," Sekona said. "I just came out here and practiced with the team. I made it to fall camp and during fall camp I tore my hamstring, so that kind of set me back a bit. I just played the back up roll last year behind Brady Poppinga."

Sekona is practicing with the team this spring and has impressed Coach Mendenhall with his all-out effort and physical style of play. He said he is "almost positive" that he will earn a scholarship.

"They said they like the way I play because I'm so physical, so they want me to play at D-end at the moment," said Sekona. "Coach Mendenhall last week called me into his office and told me he wanted me to play a more significant roll–I was backing up Cameron Jensen and Matty [Ah You] at the time–so he would like me to play D-end.

"The first day I did alright and the second day I did really good and Coach Mendenhall was pretty excited. He told me I would be working in with the two's. So I've been working with the two's ever since. Things are going pretty good right now."

Coach Mendenhall explained why he wanted Sekona to be more involved with his defense.

"I liked him at linebacker," Mendenhall said. "Linebacker is a position where we have a little bit more depth than we do at the defensive line – in terms of who I think could play right now today. So I asked him to move to defensive line because I like his effort and his heart and that's something I've targeted that the defensive line needs right now,"

Listed at 6'1" 240 pounds, Sekona is adjusting quite well to his new roll as a defensive end.

"I love this defense and it's a lot different than JC that's for sure," Sekona said. "It's a lot more hustling around on this defense, but it's really good with coach Mendenhall being the mastermind behind it all. With this defense it's all about speed and obviously effort.

"My speed isn't my strength. I'm more physical and that's what coach Mendenhall told me last week. He told me my physicality and my passion is my strength and my speed is probably where I lack and what I need to work on. He said he would leave it up to me on where I want to play – whether it's D-end or linebacker."

Sekona said he is honored to be where he is at and a part of this team. He is also grateful to know that his life has been blessed because of an answer to prayer. Even if they weren't his own.

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