Snow College D-lineman Has Big Time Offers

A recent NCJAA poll ranked Snow Junior College as the top JC football team in the country. Any time a school posts an 8-0 record and #1 ranking, national recruiting interest is bound to follow. Several D-I programs have taken notice of players on Snow's roster. Defensive linemen Junior Tea is one of those athletes.

Tonga "Junior" Tea, a soft spoken and humble Tongan from Anchorage, Alaska, plays nose guard for the Snow Badgers and is one reason why the team has been so dominant on defense. In a recent 44-6 rout of Mesa Community College, Tea recorded a sack and had five tackles despite being constantly double teamed.

"Junior is an explosive defensive tackle that simply blows up opposing lineman," said Snow defensive line coach Jason Ah You. "He is extremely athletic and has tremendous power. He is an aggressive player that flies around and makes plays. He displays great hands and feet and has incredible lateral movement for his size."

Tea is more conservative if his assessment of his strengths as a football player.

"Well, I guess I'm alright," said Tea. "I'm not really sure what to say. I just try, I guess. I am around 6-0 and 300 pounds and run the forty in 5.2. I'm somewhat strong in the weight room. We just do reps of 225 and I do that 19 times. I'm not sure how much I squat and don't really pay much attention. I just put the weights on and workout."

As a result of Tea's dominance on the field, several D-I schools have taken notice of the talented nose guard. The list includes Utah, Washington State, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Florida, BYU, USC, and Arizona State. Of those schools, Tea has received offers from Utah, Washington State and Oklahoma.

The list of Tea's suitors is impressive, but the offer that he wants the most has yet to come.

"I'm a huge BYU fan," said Tea. "I've always wanted to go to BYU. I pretty much bleed blue. I grew up in Anchorage, Alaska and have always been a big BYU fan. We sent them film and they call me when they're allowed to call me, usually on the weekends. My last call was with Coach Tidwell and I told him that I would really like to play there. I guess he said that they don't know if they can get me a scholarship to come play in the spring because they're having a lot of return missionaries coming back in the spring.

"[Coach Tidwell] has been straight up with me and told me that they will probably have their scholarships filled. They are interested in me but they don't want to lead me on, which I appreciate. I appreciate their being honest with me, and they told me that they don't want to get my hopes up and then not be able to deliver."

Despite the scholarship offers, the thought of possibly walking-on at BYU has been discussed among the Tea family, but with funds in short supply Tea does not want to put that kind of stress on a willing father.

"I would like to play at BYU and honestly it's not like if they don't offer me that I still wouldn't want to go there," Tea said. "It's just that I can't afford to pay for my schooling, so it's either a scholarship or I can't go. Hopefully I'll get an offer from them if one of the kids they're recruiting out of high school doesn't commit because I know they have to honor their scholarships for the guys coming back off their missions.

"Even if BYU doesn't offer me and I go and play someplace else, I'll still be a BYU fan. I'll still go catch a BYU game and bleed blue. My dad is a big BYU fan and my mom is a big BYU fan. My dad just really wants to be able to go to the chapel and watch me play at BYU, so he always wants me to go to BYU. Right now he is beginning to understand everything that goes into the recruiting process. He was even telling me that even if BYU doesn't offer me he would still pay for me, but money is short and I'm not going to even try putting that pressure on my dad. BYU is a lot more expensive than junior college."

Recruiting Notes

Other Snow players are getting serious looks from D-I schools. Former University of Utah quarterback commit Cade Cooper is again receiving some attention from local instate universities such as BYU and Utah. Oregon transfer Thor Pili is also receiving recruiting attention from Utah. Middle linebacker Jamison Fitt has been in contact with BYU and Rice University.

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