Jared Cooper

Coop’s Corner: Moeakiola stands out at spur position


It’s rare to find all-around players but Todd Graham and Keith Patterson have found their newest sensation.

Only a redshirt sophomore, standing six-foot-one-inch and weighing 215 pounds, SPUR linebacker Viliami (Laiu) Moeakiola is described as one of the most versatile players on the ASU defense. “He’s exactly, skill-set wise, what we look for,” said Sun Devil co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Keith Patterson.

Moeakiola first began his Sun Devil career in 2012, appearing in the first two games of the season before an injury ended his year early. As a redshirt freshman last year, he played in ten games, recording twenty-one tackles. He started the season at the field safety position but was then tried out at the spur position. After a great performance against Bishop Sankey and Washington, Moeakiola found a new home on the defense.

When discussing his new position, Moeakiola stated, “I’m starting to understand more of the concepts and why we do things at that position. (It) makes me understand what the safeties’ responsibilities are. Spur tells you a lot about the defense.”

What makes Moeakiola so unique is his versatility. “He’s an explosive blitzer off the edge which you have to have in our defense,” Coach Patterson stated. “He also has great cover skills. He has the ability to cover a number two receiver on the perimeter with man skills.”

In last week’s game against New Mexico, Moeakiola recorded a fumble recovery in addition to setting a career high in tackles with nine, two for a loss. “I think it was good because those other ten guys opened up gaps for me to make plays. They did their job which allowed me to come free, make easy reads, and just get around the football,” he stated when asked to evaluate his performance in the Devils road opener.

While making hard hits on the football field may be Moeakiola’s strong suit, this explosive linebacker is a model student-athlete on and of the field. Coach Patterson commented on his personality, saying, “He has great character. He has great discipline. He’s smart. He’s a student of the game and he just does things right. It’s just how he lives his life.”

Earlier this week, Moeakiola was honored by head coach Todd Graham who named him one of the captains on defense. Moeakiola was nothing but humble in response to his coach and teammates. “Whatever actions I do, I should lift up my players. Whether that’s in the classroom or on the football field. Just show by example.” Laiu went on to further add that he wants to “Try to make the younger guys know from what I experienced. Try to help them get on board.”

The Sun Devils travel to Colorado this weekend where they begin their Pac-12 Conference play. “They are a great team. They’ve got some good things that they do up on offense,” Moeakiola said. “If we just do what we are supposed to do, we should come out and dominate.”

About Jared Cooper

Jared Cooper

Jared is an Intern this season for ASU Devils Den. He is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications studying Broadcast Journalism with a focus in sports broadcasting. In addition to interning at ASU Devils Den, he works in the Marketing Department for the Phoenix Suns. Jared is a former Sparky the Sun Devil, ASU's mascot, from 2011 to 2013.

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