Mesa High School is looking to find its place among the top high school programs in the state of Arizona next season, and helping with that goal will be 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound all-state linebacker Fetoni – or Tony – Vaitafa.
"There are a bunch of people that are interested in Tony: UCLA, [Arizona], Oregon State, BYU, and there's a few interested in him," said Coach Moore. "He has some history with his grades, but if he takes care of that then hopefully some good things will happen for him.
Moore had plenty of praise for Vaitafa.
"Oh, he has a great nose for the football," said Coach Moore. "He's tough as nails and runs to the ball great. He's gotta work on reading keys a little better, but he has great instincts. He's just gotta develop a little more discipline in his game and he would be amazing. He's not LDS, but it would be great for him to go to a school where there are a lot of Polynesian players, and there are a lot at BYU as well as Utah. Utah is after him too as well as a lot of other places. So BYU is looking at him and then there is another kid, who isn't Tongan, by the name of Chase Allen that BYU is interested in."
The 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Allen – who is LDS – played left defensive end and also received time on the offensive line for the Jackrabbits. He was named to the Mesa 5A all-region list as one of the best defensive ends in the area.
"I play defensive end and left guard," said Allen. "My attitude towards defense is I don't care how big you are, I'm going to knock you down. I have a mindset of not being scared of anybody and will do whatever I need to do to get to that quarterback or to the ball."
As a defensive end facing Hamilton High School last season, Allen went up against 6-foot-5-inch, 295-pound Christian Westerman. Westerman is a five-star recruit and the nation's second-rated offensive tackle according to Scout.
"Westerman got the better of him the first game, but in the state championship game Chase really got after it and really frustrated and stalemated him," said Moore. "If you go back and watch the film, his performance says it all. I wish you could see the film because you would be impressed."
"He's the number-one recruited lineman in the country," said Allen of Westerman. "In the first game of the season, he and I went head to head and I guess he's just used to guys rolling over on him because he's a pretty big guy. I would just keep hitting him in the mouth and it was a really good standoff between he and I."
In fact, Allen was able to frustrate Westerman.
"The first time we played him I really frustrated him and he got a technical foul because he punched me across the facemask," Allen said. "That kind of gave me a lot of motivation to play harder for when we meet in the state championship. I wanted to bring that attitude when we meet again and stay up there with him and play as hard as I could. I feel like I did really good, especially when you go back and look at the tape."
Allen, a junior, received all-region honors. He had 90 tackles and eight sacks last year from his end position. He also caused one fumble and recovered one as well.
"Now, you have to understand that being named all-region in region one is like being named all-state for most places," said Moore. "When a kid is named all-region in this league that's a pretty big deal and a good tale of the tape."
Currently there are three schools that have shown some level of interest in Allen: BYU, Colorado and Penn State.
"I'm really, really interested in BYU," Allen said. "If I got a scholarship from them I know they would hold it for me when I go on my mission. I've been getting letters from them, Colorado [and] Penn State, but I'm really interested in playing for BYU."
"BYU is the school he would really love to go to," said Moore. "He's a great kid and would love to go to BYU and pursue an education as well as religion. He would be a great fit there."
Allen has yet to send in any game footage but is currently working doing that. He hopes that once he's completed putting his tape together he'll receive more interest from BYU.
"He is an awesome kid and he's intense," said Moore of Allen. "He knows when to turn off that intensity when he steps off the field. He's the real deal and you can see that on the tape."