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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

LB Justin Ena (Inglemoor HS, WA)

Justin Ena, the son of former Washington State Cougar, Tali Ena, in a Q&A

How would your coach describe you? What kind of player are you? "Tough, competitive, hard-working, respectful, smart, and always eager to learn more. I'm a great leader on defense. I have a nose for the ball. I'm hard hitting and explosive and I find a way to get to the ball on defense. I can read offenses well and I study film a lot to be as prepared as I can."

What are your strengths? What can you bring to a college football team? "Speed to the ball, getting into the backfield quickly, explosiveness into tackles, pass coverage, and overall knowledge of my position. I can bring leadership, love for the game, athleticism and a desire to always make plays happen. I make big hits in crucial moments and I love stepping up to face challenges."

What are your weaknesses? What do you need to improve before the next level? "Lateral quickness and shedding blocks. As a linebacker, I want to improve my lateral quickness - moving side to side and just my overall foot quickness. I want to be able to shed blockers quicker and get off blocks faster to allow myself to get into the backfield sooner so I can see the play develop sooner."

Who has been your biggest influence as a football player? "My father Tali Ena has been my biggest influence to me in the sport of football. He played tailback at Washington State and went on to the NFL to play for the Seahawks. He has encouraged me so much and taught me a lot of what I know today. His passion for the sport and the love he still has for football encourages me to always try my hardest when competing in football or any other sport I play."

Who do you model your game after? "Lofa Tatupu is my favorite football player and I try to model my game after him. He's also Samoan like I am. I love his toughness and the way he always finds a way to get in the play. He takes control of the defense and is a great leader. I've also heard that out of all the Seahawks, he is the one player that studies the most film. That encourages me to be as prepared as I can for my opponents and to never stay satisfied, because there's always more I can be doing to become a better player."

What's your favorite moment as a football player? "I am all about the team - there's no greater feeling than a hard practice or a week of two-a-day practices. When you feel like giving up, but you look around and realize that you're doing it with 65 of your best friends. Also, playing under the lights on Friday nights is an awesome feeling that I will never forget."

How do you feel your junior season went? "Overall I felt my junior season went very well. I played almost all defense this year while getting some offensive time later in the season. However, next season I am planning on starting both ways at linebacker and fullback. I felt as if I improved a lot since my sophomore year and I had a lot of fun in doing so. My team made it to the state 4A quarterfinals but lost to the state champions Lewis and Clark."

What is the outlook for Inglemoor's 2008 season? "We lost a lot of starters that were seniors, but we have many juniors and sophomores that have been stepping up this offseason. Our defense looks strong as we only lost five starters, but our offense has a lot of holes to fill with only one starting linemen and our starting quarterback returning."

What are your goals for next season? "Individually I want to stay healthy the whole year and help lead my team to a KingCo championship. I know that linebacker is my main position, but as a fullback, I want to help pick up where our offense left off last year and continue with a strong running game. Defensively, since I've been a starter the past two seasons, I know what to expect. I just need to go out there and compete, do my best, have fun, make big plays and enjoy my last year of playing high school ball."

What schools are you interested in and do you have a favorite? "University of Washington has come on very strong and is interested, but I've also talked with other schools such as Boise State and Montana. The University of Washington or Washington State are my favorites. I would love to play in-state for a Pac-10 college. My sister plays college basketball for the University of Montana, so I've visited the campus many times and their football team is very strong. I just want to have a strong senior season and from there I'll just wait and see where God wants me to play ball."

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