Junior Profile - Viliamu Kuaea

Viliamu Kuaea is a handful, whether you are trying to pronounce his name or go up against him on the football field. At 6-4 and 315 pounds, the sky is the limit for the lineman from Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes.

"You can call me Vili," he told Dawgman.com, making our job just a little easier. "I also have a nickname my parents gave to me a couple of years ago. They call me 'Big V'.

'Big V' is the younger brother of former Lakes player Kose Kuaea. Kose is headed to Nevada this fall to play for former Husky coach Chris Tormey. Vili learned a big lesson from watching his brother go through the recruiting process last year. "Basically I learned that if you don't have the grades, you don't get recruited," he said. "Grades come first."

Academics aren't Kuaea's strong suit, but give him credit. He's making big strides to try and make up for mistakes he made a couple of years ago. "It's coming along," Vili said of his grades. "I got into some academic trouble when I was a freshman, but I'm doing a lot better now. I need to take care of some core classes, but I'm working hard at it and I think I'm going to make it."

Kuaea's academic situation isn't stopping big-time schools from letting him know that they are interested. "I got letters from BYU last year and from Nebraska two years ago," he said. Vili is currently getting mail from Nebraska, BYU, Washington and Arizona State. He does not have any offers yet.

He went to Washington's junior day with his Dad and his 'little' brother. "Yeah, he's 6-3, 215 right now and he's only in the 8th grade," Vili said of his younger sibling. "He's going to be bigger than me. He won state in wrestling for the middle schools this year."

So what did 'Big V' think of Washington? "I've always thought about U-Dub, so it was great to see what was going on over there," he said. "I got to see the indoor practice field and it's just huge. I was impressed. And there always seem to be a lot of Lakes guys that are at U-Dub. And it was cool to see all the big guys in the state all at the same time, all the guys that are going to make it big next year."

There was one coach in particular who wanted to let Kuaea know that he's watching for him. "Coach (Randy) Hart came up to me and said, 'Hey Vili! How's your brother doing?' That was cool. I didn't even think he knew who I was." (laughs)

As with teammate Akeem Anthony, Vili keeps in touch with former Lancer and current Husky Reggie Williams. "We talk on a regular basis. He came down for two games this past season, the North Thurston game and the Peninsula game."

Vili got to see Reggie play against USC and Washington State. "He got it on in those games," he said.

As if those ties weren't enough, Kuaea has family at Montlake. "Kenny Walker is my first blood cousin," he said. "He's my Mom's brother's son. And Chris Solomona is also a first blood cousin. He's my Dad's sister's son. We go down there to California to see him and I talked to him quite a bit this year."

Vili was a bit shocked that Chris decided to eventually sign with Oregon. "I was disappointed," he said. "I thought he was going to U-Dub. We wanted him to go there so we could see him."

Vili played defense for Coach Dave Miller and the Lancers as a sophomore but moved to offense last year, a move that suits his tastes. "I like offense more. I think I'm more effective with my height and size on offense. You need big guys on the offensive line."

When it comes to recruiting, Vili feels he has a bit of a head start because of what he learned watching his brother last year. "I want to wait and do like my brother did and take some trips," he said. "There are lots of good schools out there. I'll do it like Reggie (Williams) did too. He waited."

And his leaders? "I'd say Nebraska and U-Dub (Washington) are my leaders," he said. "Nebraska is such a big school and if you can start there it's a place where you can really get noticed. I've always thought about U-Dub and it was great to find out more about them on Junior Day."

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