Evan Moeai openly admits he was a late bloomer.
He graduated from high school a whole year younger than the rest of his classmates and was playing tight end at Mountain View in Orem at just 6-feet 190-pounds. In other words he was young and undersized at his position and wasn't able to shine under the bright lights as a result.
So rather than picking between multiple hats on signing day of his senior season like most D-1 athletes do, Moeai was forced to pursue his football dreams through a more non-traditional path. He chose to attend Snow College and spent his first year on campus watching from the sidelines as a redshirt.
During this time his genes caught up to him and, as he put it, he "finally started to grow". He put on nearly 50 pounds and grew 3 inches in height in just over a year and entered his redshirt-freshman season at 6'3" 240 pounds. Now, instead of the 6-foot 190-pound high schooler that entered the program he was a legitimate tight end with the body to match.
Shortly after the season started Evan says schools started to take notice and his phone began to ring.
"Right after the season started I got my first recruiting call from Arizona State. I built a good relationship with the coaches down there and took a visit and then other schools started to call. Utah, Oregon State, South Florida, Colorado, then USC. It was crazy."
Evan had a fantastic freshman season at Snow hauling in 32 receptions for 375 yards and 8 touchdowns. He put together a highlight film that college coaches loved to watch and displayed high-level skills in every aspect of the game.
"Growing up I was always undersized. I loved playing tight end but was built like a receiver. I have always been able to catch the ball, but blocking didn't really come in until this last year. Before, I was undersized and wasn't strong enough to move guys. After I grew a little I worked on blocking a ton, especially this past spring and offseason. Now it's a strength of mine. It's something most coaches saw, [they saw] that I could block like a tight end, and that's when they started calling."
Utah jumped into the recruiting ring pretty early on with Evan. Coach Hill reached out to him last January and Moeai says he instantly liked the program.
"Utah felt really good right away. I got a good impression about Utah immediately. Because of that, even when I started receiving interest from USC, even when I took visits to ASU, Mississippi State, I always had an eye on the University of Utah."
One program that began to put a lot of pressure on Moeai was USC. He was recently invited to visit the campus and admits it was a dream come true.
"I took a visit to USC last Wednesday and it was really nice. USC has always been a dream school of mine. Growing up I used to watch Reggie Bush, Matt Leinert, all of those guys and I used to dream of playing for that school."
While on the visit the Trojans offered him a scholarship that he says was difficult to turn down.
"I knew going in that I liked Utah a lot, but I also liked USC a lot. When the visit ended I left still feeling like Utah was where I wanted to be. I knew at that point that if I wasn't going to choose USC over Utah that my decision was made and it was time to commit."
Moeai committed to Utah Friday morning and the word immediately started to leak across the social media wire. Evan says his Twitter and Facebook accounts were buzzing for hours once the news started to spread. So why did he choose Utah over USC?
"At the end of the day I weighed my options. I was around the [Utah] program for the last week and I had a chance to get a feel for what they're all about. Not to knock anybody, but Utah seemed much more team-oriented. They're all about team unity up there. I didn't get that same feeling at USC, so at the end of the day my gut said Utah was the place for me."
Moeai is excited for the Pac-12 and says he's ready for the step up in competition.
"Playing in the Pac-12 was a huge factor in my decision. I mean it's the Pac-12, enough said. In order to be the best player I can be I have to play the best. I don't want an easy schedule. The Pac-12 is the best competition in the nation. It's a huge deal and I'm really excited to play Pac-12 football."
Moeai understands he's coming to a program loaded with talented tight ends but says that will only drive him to work harder and become even better.
"My expectation, regardless of where I would have chosen to play, was to go in and compete right away. I'm lucky to be able to spend time around a great group of Utah tight ends. Jake and Wes are great tight ends and will be great competition. I'm really excited about those guys and this team. They've had some great recruiting classes up there and have some good young talent and solid vets. I'm excited to play with these guys for a while and I'm confident that we'll be successful as a team."
Utah Lands Talented JC Tight End
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