Utah's Top Power Lifter Interested In BYU

Copper Hills High School possesses a two-way lineman that also won three power weightlifting events for the heavyweight class in the state of Utah. He is also interested in the Cougars of BYU for all the right reasons.

As a Jordan First Team All-Region performer, junior Sealver Siliga is a defensive bulldozer for the Grizzlies' defense.

"I'm 6'2" and I weigh 330 [pounds]," said Siliga. "I play offense and defensive line. On defense I play d-tackle. I'm an aggressive player and the first thing I think of is to get that ball. I'm not the fastest player on the field but I think I'm a combination of being quick for my size and being really strong."

So how does Siliga use his strength?

"I like to use my strength to pick up people and move them," said Siliga while chuckling. "I like to just toss people. I like to bull rush a lot and I like to do the fake and club move or the rip move."

So what exactly is the fake and club move or the rip move?

"The fake and club move is when you fake to one side and the offensive guy moves that way," Siliga said. "Then you move the other way while you swing your arm and shoulder to knock him the other way."

Late great NFL Green Bay Packer defensive end Reggie White used to employ a similar move on several of his opponents he faced in the trenches.

"The rip move is when you throw your arms forward and [start] hitting the lineman, then ripping your arms above your head," said Siliga. "It's kind of like an uppercut but with a closed fist and you come up on them. It's kind of hard to explain."

Taking shots like that from a 300-pound defensive lineman who considers his style of play to be aggressive would be bad enough. But when you add on top of that the fact that Siliga is also this year's Utah heavy weight lifting champion in three different categories, one has to feel a bit sorry for those who he faces in the trenches.

"I won the Utah power lifting competition," said Siliga. "It was a bunch of kids my age and from 10th through 12th grade in a lot of different weight limits. In the heavy weight class I tested for the clean, the bench and the squat, as well as the overall.

"I benched 370 and squatted 540. They put five plates on. I then cleaned 315. I got an award that had this muscle man on the front of it. It's a trophy and he's holding weights."

While Siliga also plays on the offensive line for Copper Hills, his heart lies with the defense.

"I like defense better," Siliga said. "I just like to hit and tackle people and that's why I think I like defense more. I like to be more aggressive.

"I've improved a lot this year from last year. Last year I was just a sophomore and I had two sacks and 42 tackles. This year I had six sacks and 63 tackles, so I improved a lot since my sophomore year and I hope to continue improving."

Although he hasn't received any scholarship offers at this point in time, that doesn't mean that Siliga is going unnoticed.

"I haven't received any offers yet, but I am getting a lot of attention," Siliga said. "BYU is looking at me, [and so is] Colorado, Texas A&M, Oregon State, Cal, Arizona and Utah."

Siliga is receiving early attention from seven universities from three different conferences, but there is one school that really stands out to him for very personal reasons.

"BYU is probably my favorite school," said Siliga with a humble voice. "I've grown up liking BYU along with my parents. I want to go to BYU because I'm LDS and I want to serve a mission. I've always had a dream of going on my mission, so I'm trying my hardest to go to BYU so I can have the opportunity to play football and go on my mission.

"It's really important to me and I've always wanted to go on a mission since I was a young kid. I don't want to be someone who is coming up as a big time football player and get offered by a big school and then not go on one. I don't want to be someone who gets offered by a big college and then I forget about everything [the Lord] has done for me, so for me to give back to Him for everything He's done for me, I would want to thank him by going on my mission."

Siliga has seen in the past how LDS kids have been recruited by what is perceived as "big time" football programs, only to be persuaded to choose a path that focuses on more worldly aspirations. He has also seen how some LDS kids have gone on to play at what are perceived as lesser football programs, serve fulltime missions and then have excellent careers in the NFL.

"I look at what Kevin Curtis [Utah State] did," Siliga said. "He didn't get picked up and play football by a big school. He went on his mission and came back. Look all the blessing he got by going out and doing the right thing. I want to have a story like that too. I want to go on my mission and have all these blessings and then come back to play football again. I just don't want to get an offer and then just forget about [Heavenly Father].

"Some kids use their free agency and don't go on missions and some do, but it really depends on the type of person you are inside. Some people get lost because they get caught in the worldly stuff. I'm not trying to say that I'm Mr. Perfect, and have made mistakes myself sometimes, but that's just a goal I've had since I was a child: I want to serve a mission."

Not only does Siliga want to serve a mission to repay the Lord for what he feels are blessings he's received that allow him to play football, but also continue to help bring blessings to his family who are often times in need.

"I also want to serve a mission for my family too," said Siliga. "Sometimes we don't think we're even going to make it. Then we just put our trust in the Lord and we get by."

Although Siliga is a giant among boys, he is also humble off the field and has a heart larger than his physical prowess on it.

"I hate it when people tell me that I'm going to go to college and won't have to worry about this or that because I'm going to be set," said Siliga. "I hate that kind of stuff because sometimes I feel bad for the people around me. I'm always humble when it comes to football and I hate bragging because I feel bad for my friends. I don't know if many of them will have the same opportunities as me."

Siliga feels that by attending BYU, he can maintain his focus in life and feel good about his decision.

"One reason why I want to go to BYU is to make my parents proud," Siliga said. "My parents love BYU and a lot of my Polynesian friends just love BYU, and if my mom saw me wearing that helmet and those pads and that jersey, I know she would be proud of me. Another reason is because BYU has high standards, which would help me to stay focused and less likely to do something bad. At BYU the Priesthood is respected there, among other stuff."

BYU has invited Siliga to come up to a BYU Junior Day camp this Friday. He's only been on BYU's campus once, and though he has seen the weight room, he hasn't seen the Indoor Practice Facility, Hall of Fame, student center, locker rooms or the inside of LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"BYU has invited me to go to one of the Junior Day camps," said Siliga. "The d-line coach, Coach Kaufusi, is showing a lot of interest in me, so I'll probably go up there. He wants me to go up there so he can check me out. I'm going up there this Friday. All I know is we are taking our cleats and they show us around. Then after that we put on our cleats, we go out with all the other d-linemen, and they check us out.

"I've been up there for the Big Man Challenge last year and that was the only time. I haven't been to the football stadium or anything. I have been in the weight room but that's about it. I hope I'm able to see the other things. I really want to see the locker room."

BYU is also looking at good friend and fellow teammate Kendric Moeai, who will be coming with him up to BYU this weekend.

"We are like best brothers," said Siliga. "We are very good friends and we grew up together. He's around 6'4" or 6'5" and he plays wide receiver, and he's coming up to BYU with me on Friday. All the same schools that are recruiting me are recruiting him. BYU is looking at both of us."

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