Ali'i Niumatalolo had a rather unique perspective of the 115th Army-Navy game Dec. 13. The son of Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo was down on the sidelines during the jam-packed affair at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium, which the Academy won 17-10, and said the electricity “unreal. The atmosphere was just unreal.”
“It was really, really cool, but I’ve pretty much been to all of these Army-Navy games since I was like three years old,” said Niumatalolo, a junior inside linebacker at Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.). “I’ve loved all of them so far, because we [Navy] haven’t lost one time since I’ve been around. It’s 13 and counting now. I’ve enjoyed them all.”
Don’t expect Niumatalolo to join his father’s Midshipmen in the future, though, as the Broadneck backer said he’d like to experience something a little different than “what I’ve always known.”
“I’d probably want to play somewhere a little farther away than five minutes from my home,” he said. “It’s not that I wouldn’t want to play for my dad or anything, but I kind of want to see something different.”
And it’s likely Niumatalolo will have options. Although he doesn’t have any firm offers yet, he said Maryland, Boston College, Wake Forest, BYU and a few others have spoken to his coaches about him.
He hasn’t had any direct contact with the Terps as of yet, but said linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski did attend one of his practices during the open period. Niumatalolo also went to Maryland’s game against West Virginia earlier this fall.
“A lot of the contact Maryland has had is through my coach, and he tells me they like me and are looking at me,” Niumatalolo said. “I was up there for their game against West Virginia, and I liked it there a lot. The atmosphere was super-electric and it was a great vibe.”
Niumatalolo said he’s “definitely” attending a Terps camp this year in order to try and draw more attention from the hometown school. Although he’s expressed a desire to “try something different,” he said College Park, Md., still qualifies since it’s a totally different lifestyle and atmosphere than Navy.
“Oh yeah, I’d definitely love to have an offer from Maryland. I see some of the guys they’re getting there and the guys they’re talking to in my class [class of 2016], and it looks like a really good program,” Niumatalolo said. “And my sister actually used to play lacrosse there a few years ago, and she loved it. She said it was a great place to be.”
One option Niumatalolo does figure to have in short order is BYU. His brother, Va’a, who also starred at Broadneck, is currently on the roster, and the Cougars’ coaches have shown plenty of interest in the younger Niumatalolo as well.
“I’ve been out to BYU before, and I do like it there a lot,” said Niumatalolo, who is Mormon. “Their coaches basically said they would offer me as soon as they saw me in person this summer. So that could be a good option for me; I think it would be pretty cool to play with my brother.”
Other than trips to BYU and Maryland, Niumatalolo doesn’t have any other firm plans or schools he’d like to visit yet. He said he’s “definitely” getting out to as many campuses as he can, however, in order to drum up interest before his senior season.
Niumatalolo is coming off a junior campaign where he recorded 109 tackles. He figures to be among the highest-rated inside linebackers in Maryland heading into next year.
Interest Mounting For Son Of Navy Coach
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