It was not a very big surprise that the hugely impressive 6-3, 330-pound lineman was named by the Sacramento Bee as its Defensive Player of the Year after leading a defense that opened the season with five straight shutouts. But it is unusual for a lineman to be the State Junior Player of the Year.
After first making a name for himself by plugging the middle and helping to stuff the Long Beach Poly running game during Grant's memorable win in the 2008 CIF Open Division state bowl game, Moala figures to be one of the very best college prospects in the nation next season.
Sacramento's and Grant's last junior player of the year for the state was Syd-Quan Thompson in 2003. He ended up as one of the nation's top cover corners at Cal and should be a top three-round pick in the next NFL Draft.
The last lineman to be state junior of the year was Manny Fernandez of San Lorenzo in 1962. Fernandez went on to star in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins and was a member of the Dolphins' famed 1972 undefeated team.