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Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Bee's Defensive Player of the Year: Vei Moala, Grant

When you size up Vei Moala, you have to stand back a few feet for the full view. He's that immense.

Grant High School's 6-foot-3, 330-pound lineman has size 16 feet and hands the size of "shovels," according to Pacers coach Mike Alberghini.

Wide shoulders, massive thighs, but no overhanging gut. He also has an engaging smile and a personality that belies his ferocious play.

Moala was the area's top defender on a team that set a state season sack record with 77.

He is the overwhelming pick as The Bee's Defensive Player of the Year.

And he's only a junior, meaning more to come. More sacks, more stops, more charisma for the popular Polynesian with a shock of curly hair.

"He's the total package," Alberghini said. "A leader, a good person, a good student, a great player. He's everything."

Moala, all of 16 years old, is a national recruit. One college head coach said, "He's the top defensive lineman prospect in the country right now."

Moala receives recruiting mail weekly from powerhouse programs such as Florida, Alabama, USC and others.

He was an impact player for Grant's defense despite every scheme thrown his way, including blockers diving at his ankles or knees in an attempt to slow him down.

Moala had 104 tackles and 15 sacks, amazing numbers considering he played only the first half of many of Grant's games because they were so one-sided.

"I have to think about how teams block me because I see everything, and I still have to make a play," Moala said.

"I don't worry about it. Football is still fun."

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