UDFA Rookie Profile: Manase Tonga

A look at Raiders' undrafted free agent Manase Tonga.

Name: Manase Tonga

Position: Fullback

Height: 5'11"

Weight: 245 pounds

College: BYU

Tonga originally committed to Utah in 2002, but after serving a two-year Mormon mission, he decided to continue his career at BYU. In his first three seasons as a Cougar, Tonga played in 35 games, registering 530-yards and 12 touchdowns on 138 carries. He also added 528-yards receiving and two touchdown receptions. His best season was his junior year, in which he ran for 305 yards and eight touchdowns and also had 248 yards through the air. In 2008, in what was supposed to be his senior year, Tonga was ruled academically ineligible for the season, and as a result, had to take a redshirt year. In 2008, as a redshirt senior, Tonga rushed for 166 yards and hauled in 271 yards through the air. He had eight total touchdowns, four on the ground and four in the passing game.

Tonga is a big, bruising back who isn't relied upon as an offensive threat, but his durability and instincts have made him a viable option in the BYU offense. He isn't asked to carry the ball much, but in short, goal line situations, his big body and toughness are assets in the ground game. Tonga has some skills as a pass catcher. As a fullback, he doesn't have great ball skills, but at BYU, it was evident that he had developed a good rapport with his quarterback Max Hall, and that he could make himself useful as an emergency option along the flats.

As a blocker, Tonga is physical at the point of attack, and does an excellent job maintaining his blocks until the whistle blows. With Tonga at fullback, running back Harvey Unga became the career leader in rushing yards in school history. Although with Tonga it seems a bit nitpicky, he has to do a better job of disposing of defenders quickly and then moving on to the next level.

With the release of Oren O'Neal, Tonga has an excellent shot at making the Raiders' roster as their fullback. Marcel Reese and fellow undrafted rookie free agent Chane Moline are listed as fullbacks, but can also be considered jumbo tailbacks. Luke Lawton is suspended for the first two games of the 2010 season. Tonga is a true fullback whose aggressive and physical blocking style fits well into Hue Jackson's power running scheme—although, it remains to be seen exactly how the Raiders' will block this season. Tonga is also a nice option in the passing game, and should be a nice alternate option for Jason Campbell.

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