The journey from Anchorage, Alaska to the Big Stage could be a dream come true. It is a journey that took Eathyn Manumaleuna from Anchorage to Provo, a two year detour to Oklahoma City, back to Provo and finally to an NFL city that has yet to be determined. With a wife and a young boy to provide for, Manumaleuna is looking at making noise at the next level and many experts expect Manumaleuna to be either a late round draft pick or to sign on as an undrafted free agent.
Manumaleuna became a Cougar as a highly touted offense and defensive lineman out of Timpview High School. He helped his team win the 2006 4A State Championship and was a 4A first team All-State selection. Not only was he recruited by BYU but was also recruited by Oregon. He comes from athletic blood lines as his uncle and his cousin both played in the NFL and he hopes to follow in their footsteps.
In 2007, he came in as a freshman and started all 13 games for the Cougars and racked up 25 total tackles, 14 of them being solo. Most BYU fans will remember his freshman year as defined by his last play in the Las Vegas Bowl. With time running out and the Cougars up on UCLA 17-16, the Bruins decided to kick a 28-yard field goal. Manumaleuna had no intention of letting the kick go in and placed his 10' hands in the path and deflected it off course to preserve the win.
Take a look at the video here:
After serving a two year LDS mission in Oklahoma City, Manumaleuna came back to play in all 13 games while starting in eight of them. He increased his tackle total to 27 and also intercepted a pass for a 30 yard gain. As a junior in 2011 he came back to start all 13 games and recorded 33 tackles and became an anchor on the line. Going into his senior season he was expected to be a leader in the locker room and on the field.
Four games into his senior year he suffered a season ending knee injury that allowed his back up Ziggy Ansah to make a name for himself and get drafted in the first round of last year's NFL Draft. Because he played in lest than a third of the Cougars games in 2012, he was awarded a medical redshirt and was given his senior year back. Coming back as a true leader in 2013 he recorded 48 tackles and one sack as he had his best season overall. His play on the field and his personality have helped put him into the draft talk.
Enough about his college career, here is what a team will get when they sign him:
He knows how to use his athleticism to make a tackle while using his instincts to sniff out screen plays. He has the ability to push offensive lineman backwards as he uses his strength to over power them. Based on the way he was used in the BYU defense, he can be used in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. You know what you are getting from him and he will be a tough player in the trenches.
Lacking some size and length, a larger offensive lineman can lock him up and push him around at times. He is 25 years old, so his learning curve is limited coming into the league.
If Manumaleuna can develop some extra moves against the bigger lineman, and even put on some weight, he could be a very reliable player that can thrive in run defense. He could provide depth to a team, and maybe even work his way up to a starter.
Good luck to Eathyn as he embarks on the next step in life.