Catching up with Romney Fuga

With BYU's D-line suffering the loss of experience and senior leadership, the weight of the D-line's success will fall on the shoulders of incoming talent like Matangi Tonga and Moses Foketi. Another newcomer who will bear a heavy burden is defensive tackle Romney Fuga.

Jumping from high school right in against D-1 talent is enough to make even the most talented athlete a bit nervous. Not knowing what to expect at the next level and facing tough opponents on national television and in front of the tens of thousands of fans would make any incoming freshman a bit wary.

"They said that they need me on the D-line this next year," Romney Fuga said. "They had like six guys graduate on the D-line so they are counting on me to come in and possibly play. It's a lot of responsibility and I'm a bit nervous. The pressure is definitely there making the transition from high school to college.

"This year I just want to go up there and do my best and try my hardest. If they think I'm not ready yet, then I'm not ready yet. As long as I just go out there and do my best to try and help out the team, that's what really matters."

However, Fuga is no average athlete. He was named by the L.A. Times newspaper as the overall best linemen in southern California, beating out four-star recruit Alex Parsons of USC for the top honor.

"I got LA Times linemen of the year," said Fuga. "It's for like O-line and D-line. I was All-County, All-Southern Selection, All-CIF and those things."

With the expectations firmly placed on his shoulders, Fuga is working double time in the off-season. He is currently working out at school and with a trainer to increase his physical abilities.

"I'm just training right now; lifting and running," said Fuga. "I can bench around 375 right now. I squat like around 480 pounds or somewhere around there. I'm working out at the school and also at a personal training area."

A few months ago, Fuga was vying for the state heavyweight wrestling championship. Although beating him as a junior, Fuga ended up finishing second in an evenly match competition with former BYU O-line recruit Sione Fua.

"I lost to him in double overtime," Fuga said. "It was a tough match because we knew that we wouldn't be able to take each other down. We both new that the coin toss was going to decide who was going to win."

Recently, Coach Steve Kaufusi asked Fuga about some talented prospects at his high school. Fuga told the BYU assistant coach about his close friend who also plays on the defensive side of the ball, 6-foot, 190-pound safety Hunter White.

"Coach Kaufusi asked me if there were any other guys on my team and he was one of the guys that I recommended," said Fuga. "He just knows how to play football. I mean, on defense he just has really good instincts and he knows where the ball is going to be at. He's always at the right place at the right time and always makes plays on defense."

During his junior year, White recorded 120 tackles and was named the Defensive MVP of the Sunset League. He was also named second-team all-state underclassman in 2005 as well as to the all-Orange County first team.

"He plays weak side linebacker but he can play any position on the defense really. He's a good friend of mine and he's not LDS," said Fuga. "We both share the same standards though, and he's a really good kid. He's also a really good football player and just makes plays on the field."

Another prospect out of Edison High School is 6-foot-6, 285-pound Martin Coleman, who is reported to have a scholarship offer from Utah.

"Martin Coleman has a lot of potential," said Fuga. "I don't think BYU is recruiting him but they know about him. He has some offers though."

So as the day for BYU's newest recruits to report to coaches inches closer, big Fuga will do his best to prepare to meet the expectations of his new head coach and defensive coordinator.

"I like him a lot," Fuga said. "He's a really cool guy. He is like Captain Moroni. That's who he reminds me of.

"I'm really excited to get going. I plan on playing for one year then going on my mission. I'll probably leave next May, so I'm excited, but at the same time I'm a bit nervous."

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