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Saturday, February 11, 2006

NFL Combine Notes

The NFL will be holding their annual Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center and RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Indiana from February 23-26.

The following Samoans, Tongans, Fijians, and Hawaiians have been invited to the combine.

Manaia Brown: Defensive Tackle (BYU)
Finished his senior year at BYU as a second team MWC selection. Finished season with 31 tackles, 3 for losses, 1.5 sacks, 2 pass break ups and 1 fumble recovery. Brown transferred from Nebraska after his freshman year (2002) where he was a member of the Cornhuskers National Championship Team. Was a high school All American at Granger HS in Salt Lake City, UT.

Freddie Keiaho: Linebacker (San Diego State)
Capped Senior Year with being selected 1st Team All MWC and was also named SDSU's team MVP. Led team in tackles with 113, 11 for loss, 1 sack, 4 pass break ups and 2 fumble recoveries. Originally recruited to SDSU out of Buena HS in Ventura, CA as a running back. Older brother George Keiaho attended Washington as a Running Back and later transferred to Cal Lutheran.

Taitusi Lutui: Guard 6'6, 305, Sr (USC)
Finished Senior Year as Consensus All American by Football Coaches, Football Writers, The Sporting News, ESPN, CNNSI, CBS Sportsline and Rivals 1st Team. Was also selected 2nd Team All American by AP, Walter Camp, and Collegefootballnews.com. Lutui was selected 1st Team All PAC-10 and was named Co-Most Inspirational Player at USC, USC Lineman of the Year, and Lifter of the Year. He moved from Right Tackle to Left Guard this season. He transferred from Snow College (Ephraim, UT). Prior to Snow JC, Lutui played one season at Mesa College in Arizona. Originally signed with Utah out of Mesa HS (Arizona). Is related to current BYU Football Players TJ Sitake and David Tafuna and Texas Tech recruit Ofa Mohetau.

Jesse Mahelona: Defensive Tackle (Tennessee)
Was a Pre-Season All American following a stellar junior year at where he was named All American and All Conference. His senior year he was named Hon Men All SEC and 3rd Team All American by AP. Was credited with 35 tackles, 8 for losses, 2 sacks, and 9 QB hurrys. He is projected to be a first day draft pick. Mahelona transferred from Orange Coast College where he was coached by AIGA Foundation member Fa'asamala "Junior" Tagaloa. Mahelona may also be the first high school football player from the Big Island (graduated from Kealakehe HS in Kailua-Kona) to gain a roster spot in the NFL since former UH and Honoka'a Offensive Lineman Kaulana Noa.

Fred Matua: 6'2, 305, Jr Guard (USC)
Matua will leave USC with a year of eligibility remaining. He redshirted his freshman year after being projected to start due to a Fall camp knee injury. Started for 3 years at USC and was named 2nd Team All Confernce this past season. Was originally recruited as a Defensive Lineman but was switched to OL. Was a HS All American at Banning HS (Wilmington, CA) where he was coached by his uncle and AIGA Foundation member Ed Lalau. Other relatives include former USC and AIGA Foundation member Titus Tuiasosopo (USC 90-92), Navy Tuiasosopo (Utah State and LA Rams), and Mike Tuiasosopo current Arizona Defensive Line Coach.











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Pictured Top Row: Travis Tofi, Fred Matua, Alatini Malu, Taitusi Lutui, and Fili Moala
Pictured Bottom Row: Hershel Dennis, Kaluka Maiava, Salo Faraimo, and Rey Maualuga

Haloti Ngata: Defensive Tackle (Oregon)
Junior will leave school a year early after being named Consensus All American by AP, CNNSI, ESPN, FWAA, and Walter Camp. He was also named First Team All Pac-10 and was the conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Ngata finished the season with 61 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 5 pass break ups and 1 QBH. He's projected to be first round draft pick. Prior to Oregon Ngata was a High School All American and Highland HS in Salt Lake City, UT. He is the cousin of USC Defensive Lineman Fili Moala and former Oregon State Linebacker David Moala.

Domata Peko: Defensive Tackle (Michigan State)
Was selected Honorable Mention All Big-10. Finished the season with 53 tackes, 3 for losses, 1 sack, 3 QBH, 2 forced fumbles and 1 touchdown fumble return of 74 yards. Is the younger brother of former Indianapolis Colts Offensive Lineman Si'itupe Peko. Attended the same junior college (College of the Canyons) and high school as San Francisco 49er Nose Tackle Isa'ako Sopoaga.

Marvin Philip: Center (Cal)
Finished career as a two time First Team Pac-10 selection. Was also named finalist for the Rimington Trophy awarded to the nation's top center. Led an offensive line that blocked for over 2500 yards rushing in the PAC-10, second to USC's 3171. Philip is projected to be a first day selection. Philip attended Oak Ridge HS in El Dorado Hills, CA.
Pictured Left to Right: Will Ta'ufo'ou, Nu'u Tafisi, Mike Kane, Norris Malale, Chet Teofilo, Matthew Malele, Marvin Philip and Abu Ma'afala center.

Donovan Raiola: Center (Wisconsin)
Finished season as a 3 time Honorable Mention Big 10 Center. Was also selected to pre-season watch lists for the Rimington Trophy (Nation's Top Center) and Lombardi Award (Nation's Top Lineman). Younger brother of Detroit Lions Center Dominic Raiola. Attended Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu.

Fahu Tahi: Fullback (BYU)
Rushed for 497 yards on 97 carries and 6 TDs. Also caught 41 passes for 375 yards and 2 Touchdowns out of the backfield. Returned to BYU as a sophomore following his LDS mission to Jacksonville, FL. Was Gatorade State Player of the Year at Granger HS (Salt Lake City, UT).

These attendees will have a leg up on the competion due to being invited to the combine. However we should keep an eye out for some other Islanders looking to the make the NFL via draft or free agency.

Steve Fifita: Utah
Kurt Kahui: San Diego State
Represented by Pacific Rim Sports Agency (Bob Apisa)
Kila Kamakawiwo'ole: UH
Joe Lobendahn: Washington
Lono Manners: UH
Represented by Pacific Rim Sports Agency (Bob Apisa)
Lafaele Vaka Manupuna: Colorado

Please send any additional thoughts or comments to aigafoundation@hotmail.com

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