Hunter RB Checks Out BYU

Three Hunter High School football players took a trip down to BYU on Thursday to meet the coaches, tour the facilities, and watch some of the Cougars do voluntary workouts. One of the three was speedy junior running back Muka Atiga, who will likley be one of the top prep running backs in the state of Utah this fall.

"Oh man it was great!" said Muka Atiga. "It was me, Harold Moleni our tight end and Ryan Mulitalo. He's only a sophomore but he's going to be our starting tackle next year.

"We got to check out all the facilities and stuff. We got to go see some of the drills they do and see their speed and stuff. We got to meet some of the players. I got to see one of our old players from Hunter, Ray Feinga. I saw him walking around the locker room and saw him over there.

"We met the coaches right when we got to there indoor practice facility. We just introduced ourselves to some of the coaches that didn't know who we were, and we left them with some game film and hung out with Coach Kaufusi. After that the coaches left and we watched the players do their drills and run their seven-on-sevens."

So what was Atiga's impression of the BYU coaches?

"I thought they were cool," Atiga said. "They always seem energetic and seem like they are looking for some good talent. They're all really cool though."

At Hunter High School in West Valley City, Utah, it is usually team policy that the seniors either start or get most of the reps. The reasoning is that these players have invested the most time and effort for the team and they should be rewarded with a greater chance to play.

Last year, senior running back Fili Vakapuna was Hunter's featured running back. Fili Vakapuna is the first cousin of BYU sophomore running back Fui Vakapuna.

"That's one reason why I didn't start," said Atiga of Hunter's senior starter policy. "I have a lot of respect for our senior running back who started last year, and he was great."

Atiga is related to Fui Vakapuna on his mother's side of the family. He is also the brother-in-law to recent Utah running back commit Matt Asiata, so being a running back just comes with being part of the family, and Atiga fits right in.

"I was all-state honorable mention last year," said Atiga. "I ran for around 1,200 yards and scored 19 or 20 touchdowns. I'm not sure how many carries I had though. I was picked MVP for my position in our region, and I got picked with Doug Fiefia from Bingham for our region.

With family playing for both sides of the BYU and Utah, Atiga admits that he takes neutral stance when it comes to the rivalry.

"I like BYU, but I kind of take a neutral stance between BYU and Utah," Atiga said. "My brother-in-law is going to play for the Utes next year, so I try to be neutral."

Coming in somewhere between 5-foot-11 and 6-foot, Atiga has good size to go with his speed. He also possesses the discipline to get it done in the weight room.

"I'm around six feet and weigh 185. My forty is in the 4.5 zone, and that was recorded at school by my coach. We lift everyday, and I'm still trying to get stronger, and I'm trying to progress. My max on the bench right now is about 250 pounds. My squat is three plates on each side so around 315. My clean is two plates on each side so 225."

Atiga views himself as someone who can both out run defenders and make them miss in the open field.

"I'm more of a quick kind of running back," Atiga said. "I can run between the tackles but every time I get a chance to run to the outside I like to do that. I like to try and use my speed more and use my moves to make people miss."

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