James Durrant, UteZone

Evan Moeai back for one more shot with the Utes

Senior tight end Evan Moeai is back for one last go as a Ute

Senior tight end Evan Moeai is hoping third time is the charm in his final year with the Utes after failing to make it through the first game in 2014 and 2015. After receiving a medical redshirt, Moeai has one more go at his senior year in 2016 and so far things look good as he made it through the first game against Southern Utah University and is now set to start preparing for the second game of the season against BYU.

“I’m excited coming back from a couple of injuries,” Moeai said. “It’s been a long time coming. The tight end group is working hard. The offense is looking good and I’m really excited about what this season has in store for us.”

Moeai’s story is a long one. After graduating from Mountain View High School Moeai attended Snow College where he was second on the team in receptions with 32 and had eight touchdown catches. However, once he transferred to Utah his playing career became a little more rocky. “I came in as a sophomore, didn’t play much as a sophomore and tried to work my butt off,” he said. “Junior year I got hurt my first play of the first game and lost that year. Worked really hard to rehab for the next year, which was last season. Ended up getting hurt on the first series last year.”

“It’s kind of been a little journey,” Moeai said reflectively. “I came from Snow College which is a lot different than here. Just tried to work hard and do my best. Things worked out for me. Once I got here I didn’t have the career I wanted to with the injuries but I have faith in this season and I just keep trying to work hard.”

That work ethic is what Moeai hopes will rub off on the young guys entering the program and is something he takes real pride and care in setting an example of. “Really, I’ve just been trying to set an example for them and help them in their playbook,” he said. “You know if they have questions or if I see them struggling just trying to help keep them up. It can be tough coming in as a new freshman or as a JUCO transfer so I’m really trying to keep them motivated and show them what kind of work you need to have to be a successful D1 player.”

And while hard work is key to having success in anything you do Moeai is also an advocate for having fun and enjoying the moment. “That’s definitely the best advice I’ve had,” he said. “All of my brothers and my family tell me to just have fun. It can be stressful with all of the pressure that comes with being a D1 football player. Just try to have fun with it and remember that football is football. It’s not going to last forever so you have to enjoy it and embrace it while you have it.”

One of Moeai’s biggest supporters through all of his ups, downs and stresses has been his wife, Samantha. “The first year [I got hurt] we had just gotten married and she really helped me through that,” he said with a smile. “It was kind of a hard time for me and then the next year- ya know when it happened again I was kind of in disbelief and I was really bummed about that. She’s really helped me so much through those injuries.”

Also of tremendous support to Moeai has been his family and teammates. “[They] were there texting me and letting me know every thing is going to be ok,” he said. “Trying to keep my spirits up. There have been a lot of people who have helped me to overcome those trials.”

Now that those trials seem to be behind him Moeai is just hoping he can leave one last impression on Ute fans before he takes on the next chapter in his life. “I just want to be a guy who works hard, that does my job and makes plays when I have the chance,” he said. “It’s kind of been yet to be seen what I can do on the field and so I want to show people I can go out there and ball.” 


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