The soft-spoken, gentle giant rarely spoke. "Every time I spoke, it was surprising because I don't speak much," said Moala. "The coach thought it would be funny ‘since you are a big guy we call you tiny.' The next game, Tiny was on the roster instead of my name."
But tiny is no way to describe his game. Moala is an aggressive defender on the field. He demands double teams, occupies space and is relentless in his pursuit of the ball carrier. He played every game last season at 340 pounds. What is scary is Tiny is only getting bigger.
"I'm almost 6'4 now," said Moala. "I don't want add weight that will weigh me down or drop weight that will affect my game. A lot of d-tackles are really heavy set. I don't know many d-tackles that are smaller than 320 pounds. But I will drop or gain weight if a college wants me too."
Most schools are targeting him to play nose tackle but some like him as either a 3-techinue or a 4-technique defensive tackle. "I'll play anything that will get me into college," Moala added.
For a kid with an incredible future waiting for him at the next level, Moala is extremely laid back. He isn't worried about where he is going to play football. His focus right now is a qualifying test score.
"Nothing much," Moala described the current state of his recruitment. "I got offers here and there. I'm just trying to balance church, sports and schools. What I'm worried about is taking my SAT. I'm taking it in two weeks. I'm pretty nervous. I've taken plenty of PSAT's."
He reports a 3.5 GPA but more importantly, he has all his core classes covered. "The only core class I have left is an English class that I take next year," added Moala.
He claims around 12 offers. He can't recall every school that has offered him nor does he care to list them. "I really don't watch college football that much," said Moala. "I really don't know what school I really want to hear from. A couple weeks ago I got an offer from USC then Washington, Oregon State, Oregon…"
"I didn't know that people could be so loud," Moala described the Memorial Stadium crowd. "I have never seen that part of the game. What the students do with the [flip] cards, it was crazy. I used to just watch Tyson Alualu play [defensive line]."
Admitting he hasn't really looked at all his offers, the one from the Golden Bears does have his attention.
"Cal is looking good," said Moala. "When I went there for a visit, I saw all the frat houses and the community. They say they are a college city. I'm talking to [DL] Coach [Tosh] Lupoi a lot. My cousin Nu'u Tafisi played at Cal. He said it was a great learning environment. I'm pretty open to what they do there."
Moala is planning to return to Berkeley this weekend for Cal's Junior Day. "I might go with Shaquille Thompson, Syd'Quan's little brother, and his mom. USC offered for me to come down this weekend for junior day, but I didn't want to shoot down Cal."
The Bears are recruiting him as a nose tackle. Cal didn't sign a defensive tackle in the 2010 class – a glaring need with starter Derrick Hill entering his senior year. Moala is more than capable of playing significantly as a freshman regardless of the situation.
He's received a number of other junior days and spring practice invites. As well, Alabama, Florida, Miami and a lot of eastern schools have told his coaches that they will be coming to watch him during the upcoming spring evaluation period.
But Moala can sum up his recruitment in one phrase. "I have no clue."
"I want to stay close to home so my parents can watch me. I'm interested in Alabama but it's kind of too far. [My parents] are leaving [the decision] up to me. I was hoping they would be more involved. But they say I have to start making my own decisions."
A few years ago, another promising Sacramento Grant defensive tackle had high interest in Cal during his senior year but did not receive an offer after his official visit to Berkeley. Christian Tupou received a late offer to USC and subsequently signed with Trojans. But Moala's path will likely go in a different direction considering he already holds a Cal offer as a junior and his interest in the Trojans is relatively low at this point in his recruitment.
"Don't know about SC just yet," said Moala. "I'm looking to take some visits and make a decision after the season, closer to signing day. I'm going to let God do his work. There's a pretty good chance [Cal] could be No. 1."
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