Sun Shines On All-Poly Camp

After many days of constant rain, the clouds parted on cue for a bright and sunshine-filled day as Polynesian football players from Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah and other states gathered for instruction at the All-Poly Camp over the past couple of days.

The All-Poly Camp featured many Division I, Division II and junior college football coaches and former NFL players on hand to provide encouragement and intense drill instructions on technique and personal development. Among the coaches in attendance were Steve Kaufusi and graduate assistant Mark Atuaia of BYU, and Kalani Sitaki, John Pease, Dave Schramm and Kyle Whittingham of the University of Utah.

Representing the University of Wyoming were new head coach Dave Christensen, assistant coach Mike Fanoga and others. Former BYU Cougar and current SUU assistant coach Justin Ena was also there, along with Brian Cabral of Colorado and Lance Anderson of Stanford.

UNLV head coach Mike Sanford was there along with assistant coach Keith Uperesa. Uperesa was still weak from his recent bout with cancer, but was chauffeured around in a golf cart and had a constant smile on his face.

Former BYU Cougar and Philadelphia Eagles linemen Morris Unutoa and Denver Broncos lineman Mario Fatafehi were also in attendance, as were many other coaches from Utah State, Weber State, UCLA, Western Washington University, and many more.

"Hey, it's good to be out here with the kids," said Unutoa. "I have a lot of fun out here."

After being separated into position groups, the football players met with coaches at different workout stations. The coaches put the players through a series of drills designed to further improve their technique. It's during these drills that the players gain valuable instruction and encouragement. Following a time limit, various coaches move the groups in a round-robin format from one station to the next for further instruction from different coaches.

Following personal workouts with the coaches, the prospects are then grouped up into teams for scrimmages so the players can put into practice what they've learned.

Taking a Look at the Players

There may not have been as many stars in attendance at the All-Poly Camp this year as there were last year or other past years, but that doesn't mean there wasn't top-tier talent strutting their game in full view of on-looking coaches.

One of the athletes in attendance was V.J. Fehoko, who is transferring from Farrington High School to Kahuku High School. He was there with his older brother Sam Fehoko of Texas Tech, who was watching and supporting his younger brother from the sidelines.

"There is some good competition out here," V.J. said. "You have to be ready or you could be in trouble. I'm one of those that's ready."

Among the familiar local names participating at the camp was Manu Mulitalo of Granger High School, who was there among the offensive linemen. Mulitalo was named a USC camp MVP earlier in the year and was there on Thursday going through drills and dominating in the trenches during scrimmages.

Representing Bingham High School was Baker Pritchard, who just verbally committed to BYU this past week. Pritchard was already physically heads and shoulder above the rest of his group. Pritchard's teammate Harvey Langi was also there and was tops among running backs.

"The All-Poly Camp is good because you get to be coached by different coaches," Langi said. "There's some good competition out here from all over the place. It's fun."

Another impressive performer among the running backs was Tana Afiaki of West High School. Afiaki is a 5-foot-11-inch, 190-pound quick back with good lateral movement and is a relative unknown in the state of Utah. After viewing his performance during the All-Poly Camp, he shouldn't be an unknown. The strong-running senior-to-be was very effective through that tackles, and it was here where he did most of his damage against defenses.

"I play rugby also, so I guess that's kind of where I get it from," Afiaki said. "I just do my best to get every yard I can."

Keaka Fernandez from Hawaii was yet another impressive running back at the camp. Fernandez is another strong, gritty runner with good speed, quickness and balance that allowed him to shed the first tackle on several occasions.

"I'm from Kapolei High School and will be a senior this year," Kapolei said. "I wanted to come out here and show these coaches what I can do."

Fernandez showed well whenever he got the chance during full-padded scrimmages.

Looking at the linebackers, there were six standout performers among a strong group of camp participants. V.J. Fehoko used his toughness and quick instincts to show why he is one of the top linebackers in the state of Hawaii. Fehoko's energy and fearless disposition were infectious, as others stepped up their game to match his level.

Shaydon Akuna, another player from Kapolei High School, was another good-sized linebacker and played similar to Fehoko. Akuna is physical and possesses those vital instincts that allow one to shine at the linebacker position.

Utah native Sae Tautu of Lone Peak High School is someone who made a lot of noise. Tautu flowed well from side to side and displayed heart and effort on every play, whether in position to make the tackle or not. He didn't waist many steps in his technique, allowing him to get into position quicker to take on the point of attack.

Similar in style to Tautu was Cody Carthy of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise. Carthy is physical and aggressive to the point of attack and used good lower-body leverage to shed off blockers. He flowed well within the defense and took proper angles when making tackles against quicker offensive opponents.

Matt Tanuvasa of South Ridge High School in Oregon impressed with his daily performances. A good-sized linebacker at almost 6 feet 2 inches and 215 pounds, Tanuvasa showed good speed on the outside whether blitzing quarterbacks or chasing down running backs. He also showed well in his drop-backs, breaks and change of direction during pass-coverage situations.

These were just a few standout performers during the All-Poly Camp, with more performers and evaluations to come. The next installment from the All-Poly Camp will cover offensive linemen, defensive linemen and other standout performers at wide receiver, quarterback and tight end.

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