Manumaleuna Trades Pole for Pads

Growing up in Alaska, Eathyn Manumaleuna spent most of his free time fishing in rivers, lakes, and bays of The Last Frontier. As he prepares for his final season of high school football, and what he hopes will be a successful college career, the two-way lineman is leaving the Alaskan wild for Wasatch suburbs.

"The reason I'm going to down to Provo and to BYU's camp is to just get better and go against better competition," said Eathyn Manumaleuna. "You don't get all that good of competition up in Alaska, so that's why I'm down here."

After garnering lineman of the year honors for the state of Alaska last season, Manumaleuna wanted a challenge as a senior. The 6-foot-2, 275-pound offensive and defensive lineman aspires to play Division I football so he hoped decided to move to a state with stronger football programs. After obtaining his parents' consent, Manumaleuna made plans to head down to Provo, Utah.

"I've played very well in Alaska," said Manumaleuna, "but there really are only two or three guys in Alaska that even challenge me a little bit. I'm here in Provo to prove myself, to prove that I can hang with the players down here and in better competition."

Manumaleuna will test himself at Provo's Timpview High School where he will join BYU recruits Houston Reynolds and Famika Anae as the third peak in the mountain range that is the Thunderbirds offensive line. Following BYU's camp, Manumaleuna will travel back to Alaska for about a month before returning to Provo to play for and to attend Timpview high school.

So what does Manumaleuna miss most about Alaska during this time of the year?

"Fishing," he unhesitatingly stated. "I love to fish—salmon mostly. Alaska has the best fishing in the world and that's all I do most summers. It's great; I just go anywhere and fish. That's probably what I love most about Alaska."

The Manumaleuna family moved to Alaska when Eathyn was eight years old due to his parents' desire to leave behind the bad influences in Southern California.

"My parents just decided it would be a good place to raise a family, and I've loved it up there," said Manumaleuna. "The winters are tough. It's hard to work out and keep in shape, but the summers are just great. There's no better place to be in the world than in Alaska during the summer."

Manumaleuna recognized that despite his love of the outdoors, he needed to do what was in his best interest. That realization led him to give up his rod and reel for his helmet and pads.

"Football is what I'm best at," he said. "I need to prepare hard for next season since I'll be going against a lot better competition"

BYU is Manumaleuna only offer, although Oregon is showing him more interest. Apparently, Oregon's efforts are still not enough because BYU is a strong leader for Manumaleuna's services as of right now.

"Not many schools have contacted me since I play up in Alaska and they don't come up there much," he said. "That's why I'm down here and why I'm going to play for Timpview next year—to get noticed. I love BYU though and playing there and attending school is something I'd love to do."

Manumaleuna is LDS and has definite mission plans. He will leave after a his freshman year.

This week, Manumaleuna is participating in BYU's full-contact padded camp. He is doing drills against current Cougar commit Manaaki Vaitai and Tooele's Mark Pratt, also a BYU recruit.

TBS will follow up with Manumaleuna following the conclusion of camp.

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