When Michigan State opens up the 2011 football season against Youngstown State there is going to be a new person protecting Kirk Cousinsâ€™ blindside.Â That person might just be incoming junior college transfer, Fou Fonoti.
At 6â€™5â€ and weighing more than 300 lbs Fonoti has the size to compete right away in the Big Ten.Â Combine that with his quick feet and incredible tenacity you have the makings of a prototypical left tackle with the potential to keep Kirkâ€™s jersey very clean this season.
Many Spartan fans may know Fou because of his connection to former Spartan and NFL football players Tupe and Domata Peko.Â These three grew up together in California, and have a lot in common.Â But there is one notable difference, Fou isnâ€™t sporting the long locks that Domata became well known for having.Â Fou offers a pretty simple explanation for that difference though, â€œMy grandpa told me long hair was for girls.Â So I have short hair now.â€Â Letâ€™s just hope Domata doesnâ€™t hear that remark.
When speaking about his chances this upcoming fall Fonoti took a particularly level-headed approach.Â â€œI donâ€™t want anything given, I want to compete for everything,â€ he said.Â Fou continued, â€œIf I come in and do what Iâ€™m taught and take the coaching then, God willing, I can have that starting job.â€
Fonoti also spoke regarding his style of play.Â â€œI play with a lot of passion,â€ he said.Â But that doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s out of control on the field, however.Â He elaborated, â€œI may not show it (passion) as much, because I just like to stay calm and collected.Â I try to make sure I stay focused.â€Â Thereâ€™s no doubt that the ability to keep his excitement in check will be absolutely necessary when he comes up against the talented crop of defensive linemen he will be seeing this season.
Fonoti was mostly recruited by offensive line coach, Mark Staten, whom he said he had developed â€œfriendship and a bondâ€ with.Â He also gushed when talking about Mark Dantonio and the atmosphere he has created in East Lansing.Â â€œI donâ€™t know what else I can say about this man, heâ€™s a strong person, very humble, and I just felt the whole Michigan State environment matched me.Â It just felt right.â€
But the coaches and atmosphere werenâ€™t the only thing that drew Fou to MSU.Â He was also extremely excited about a somewhat strange item:Â snow.Â â€œWith the snow, me being from California, I was like â€˜oh man, this is something new!â€™â€Â While this may not be the attitude most Michiganders hold towards snow (which is usually somewhere between disdain and loathing), Fou is in for a treat for the months of November through February.
But football isnâ€™t the only thing in Fonotiâ€™s life.Â Heâ€™s looking to major in something relating to criminal justice while at MSU.Â He explained that he wanted an opportunity to â€œgive backâ€ and that criminal justice was a great avenue to do that.
Also, Fonoti has a strong faith which has guided him through his life.Â â€œI was born and raised in church, my grandfather was a pastor in my church.â€Â He continued, â€œThatâ€™s one thing Iâ€™ve never lost, is my faith.Â I truly believe God is the reason this is all possible for me and Iâ€™m truly thankful.â€
But what really came through about Fonoti was his humility.Â â€œIâ€™m not the type to brag,â€ he said.Â It was very impressive to hear a young man as talented as Fou consistently shy away from praise, and give credit to others.Â â€œIâ€™m just thankful for every opportunity I get,â€ he said, and it was readily apparent that he meant every word.
Now that Fou is going to play at Michigan State, it still hasnâ€™t sunk in.Â â€œIâ€™m truly honored to hear people say â€˜Oh man, youâ€™re a Spartan now!â€™â€ he explained.Â Fonoti is definitely a Spartan, and the entire Spartan Nation should be excited to see what he can do.