Mosiah Nasili-Liu has played two varsity football games for the Emerald Ridge High School football team.
And on Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-3, 260-pound defensive lineman verbally committed to continue his football career at the University of Utah.
He celebrated with a trip to Sizzlers. He’ll be the first from his family to head to college straight out of high school.
“My parents are still outside crying,” Nasili-Liu said. “I’m just so grateful to have their support and my grandparents and coach (Troy) Halfaday. He’s a great dude who got me this offer. I just hope that this upcoming senior season is the best one yet.”
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Nasili-Liu was also considering offers from Washington State and Boise State before choosing Utah.
If you’ve never heard of him, it’s because he’s new to the area. Nasili-Liu and his family moved from Walnut Creek, California, to South Hill last year because of Nasili-Liu’s father’s job as a general contractor, he said.
He was born and raised in California and played football and baseball at Northgate High School near the Bay Area.
“It was a hard process,” Nasili-Liu said. “We kind of just picked up our stuff and left in a span of like two weeks. I was still bummed with not being able to finish out my junior season with my buddies who I grew up with.
“But moving out here they made me feel really comfortable. Everybody was so welcoming.”
He quickly befriended Andrew Boston, who graduated last year after signing a letter of intent to play wide receiver at Eastern Washington University. Then he played his first game for Emerald Ridge against Sumner, when the Jaguars lost in overtime, 49-42, against a team that would reach the 4A state semifinals.
He had six tackles, then followed with six more, including four for loss, in a 46-6 win against Kent-Meridian in the season finale.
Could Halfaday see Pac-12 potential?
“Oh yeah,” the sixth-year coach said. “He’s a game changer. Not just because of his athleticism but because of the way he plays. He plays with a motor that is always on.
“But it was his humility that got me. We was super coachable and a real team guy who never made it about himself. Right there, with the God-given gifts he has, just naturally presents itself in a way that’s attractive to college coaches.”
He’ll split time playing on the interior of Emerald Ridge’s defensive line as a five-technique, and at defensive end. On offense he’s a tight end.
Nasili-Liu had to first get his grades up, he said. He saw a big improvement his junior year.
“I really just tried my best,” he said. “It was important because it was a big year not only to get recruited, but just to be able to go to college.”
He also tied for the team lead in hits for the Emerald Ridge baseball team in the spring, batting .448 (26-for-58) with a home run as a first baseman.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677