Spencer Katoanga

UNLV's newest commit Spencer Katoanga talks about him commitment to UNLV

Spencer Katoanga committed to UNLV on Saturday night and is ready to come in and be an impact player as soon as he steps on campus. An accomplished Rugby player, he is physical, strong, fast and has the tools to impact the Rebels for years to come.

Spencer Katoanga is an Impressive young man on and off the field. He is an accomplished football player who had two service schools (Air Force and Army) vying for his services, is well spoken, polite and a pleasure to speak with. He is also a player who doesn't shy away from contact, is aggressive and plays downhill. He is athletic, smart, instinctive and reminds some UNLV sources of former Rebels Inside Linebacker Tau Lotulelei (they even look the same when watching them play with their hair hanging out the back of their helmets).

But Spencer is the type of player who's impact will resonate throughout the Rebels program. He will do the dirty work, take on the block to free up another player to make the tackle, blow a hole up to force the running back to bounce it outside for a loss...he is a leader and a "glue guy" that has a skill set that can easily translate to playing beyond Saturdays. He told me on Monday night he is "about 230 pounds" and is looking forward to stepping foot on the UNLV campus this summer.  

Spencer is a kid that is easy to root for. Here is my "TOKO" (A Tongan term of endearment) on his commitment to UNLV

1. What were you thinking during your official visit to UNLV and what stood out to you about it?

On my official visit to UNLV, I was impressed with the environment and how dedicated the coaching staff is in supporting their players on and off the field. The thing that stood out the most is how Coach Sanchez interact with his staff and players. Growing up in a close knit family, I was drawn to the family atmosphere that Coach Sanchez has created with his coaching staff.

2. Being that you are built and play like the prototypical modern day ILB, how do you envision yourself fitting in to Rebel's defense?

I envision myself as a leader and also a team player. I am willing to do whatever is best for the team.

3. What were the reasons you were considering UNLV and do you think you can come in and play right away?

They are a young team and are trying to change the culture of UNLV football to a traditional power house that I want to be a part of. When coach Barr recruited me, he expects me to come in and compete right away. So that is what I am going to do.

4. What are your strengths on the field as a ILB and what are your areas that you need to improve on? 
I am a throwback linebacker, physicality is my game and I play with emotion and passion. Because I am an emotional and passionate player, I wear my emotions on my sleeves. 

5. How big was it to finally settle in and lock into a decision to shut down your recruiting and know that you will be at your new home for the next 4 years? 

It was a relief to finally know where I'm going to be at for the next 4 years I'm a program that is on the rise and I will be part of it.

6. What was your overall impression of your UNLV trip, the program in general and has the new Fertitta Football Complex and stadium that will be built soon played a role in your impression of UNLV? Also, what do you think of Coach Sanchez and they way his staff is recruiting you? Have they impressed you?   

I was very impressed throughout my visit. The new facility will just add more prestige to the program and it's going to help football team as well as recruiting in the future. I was impressed with how Coach Sanchez out look on the program and his plan to execute it. They treated me with respect and honesty. 

7. What were you looking for in a school? If you had to list the things that matter most to you, what are they?

The family atmosphere, the academics, and coaching stability. Also that it's not too far for my family to catch a game. 

8. Your game is physical, aggressive and reminds me of former UNLV ILB Tau Lotulelei. Do you see the same similarities and what did Coach Bear say about your skill set? 

We're both Polynesian descendants, playing physical comes naturally to us.  Coach Baer said he wants a strong and physical linebacker and I fit the mold. 

9. Do you have specific goals for the upcoming season?

To compete and play right away. Also to help the team reach new heights as a football program.

10. Lastly, what is your message for the UNLV fan base prior to coming to Vegas?

I'm going to leave everything on the field and you won't question my effort. I'm going to lead by example on and off the field to make you guys proud that I am representing the rebel nation.

You can follow Spencer on Twitter @sesili_11


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