From Rainier Beach High School in Seattle to a year away from football in California. From the football field at Citrus College in 2000 with Coach John Rome to the field at Mt. San Antonio in 2001 under the guidance of Coach Bill Fisk and company. It has been a long, long road for Mt. SAC defensive tackle Asora Tuiaana. And he will have at least one more stop yet.

The Mounties have a fine tradition of turning out top-notch defensive linemen and Tuiaana, who is 6-2, 290 pounds, is this season's standout. Two years ago it was Marcus Roberson (Washington) and Alphonso Boone (Detroit Lions) who flustered opposing offensive lines. This year it is Tuiaana.

DT A. Tuiaana

Asora (#58; middle) with friends at Citrus last year.

In high school Tuiaana was a good sized linebacker but was moved to the defensive line by Rome at Citrus. This after sitting out the 1999 season. Although the position was new to him he managed to earn All-Conference honors after his freshman season.  But just as things were getting very comfortable in Glendora, California there was a change in coaching staffs and Tuiaana decided to leave.

"I transferred to Mt. SAC because I heard good things about it and Coach Mitchell has a great reputation for working with defensive linemen. Plus, I live in between Citrus and Mt. SAC so I didn't have to move."

In spring we spoke with Coach Fisk about Tuiaana, but he was reluctant to comment much having not seen him play in games. Tuiaana's position coach, however, spoke of his new pupil's strength and quickness and provided a glowing endorsement. We caught Coach Rome, who is now at Glendale, and he too said that Tuiaana was 'the real deal.'

Now with the season nearly complete there is little doubt about Tuiaana's abilities. He is explosive and gets off quickly at the snap of the ball. And with a forty time in the 4.9 range he has the speed needed to reach the quarterback.

Asora with his mom.

Faamamata Tuiaana (mom) and Asora.

Tuiaana reports a bench press of 375, squat of 550, and 305 clean. At the next level those numbers will improve dramatically.

There are never enough quality junior college interior defensive linemen to satisfy four-year colleges. So it's no surprise that this big man is getting letters and phone calls from here, there, and everywhere. But does he have a favorite?

"In the summertime I went up to Seattle (for an unofficial visit) and saw the University of Washington. The coaches there showed me the facilities and I met all the coaches and learned about the program. I've always wanted to go there. No offer yet but they said they were evaluating me," said Tuiaana. Washington defensive coordinator, Chuck Heater, is the one calling on Tuiaana.

Other schools expressing interest are Texas A&M and Boise State. The latter is showing the most interest as they are recruiting a number of defensive linemen this year. Tuiaana has yet to set up official visits.

Right now it looks like Tuiaana will wrap up school by July, which means some four-year school will have to wait for his services. Whether it's the hometown Washington Huskies or another school, this talented player will surely be moving down the road once more.



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