June 10, 2011
Niusulu ready to get started with his Army family
Hearing stories from his father, a retired Marine officer, Jonas Niusulu was at first quite hesitant to join the military. But he's in the Army now. And looking forward to the experience.
The defensive end from Barstow (CA) Barstow High School will be reporting to the United States Military Academy Prep School next month. "I kind of figured how it was gonna be, and I really didn't want to live that life,'' he said. "But the more I thought about it I knew I had to change my outlook. Still, the decision was not easy at all. I knew I wasn't going to make the decision on day one.
"I agreed to go because you have to look to the future. All the hard work you have to go through with West Point really does give you a better future than most kids have. That's what made me decide.''
Like everyone else in his class, Niusulu has been working out, giving himself off only Sundays. He runs at least two miles a day, lifts and does his "military stuff'' like pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups.
"It's pretty hard to train for the Army,'' he said.
He often shares his activities with future classmates Deandre Bell and Tala Atimalala, whom he met on facebook. Bell, from Texas, is coming in as a quarterback. Atimalala, known as T.J. to his friends, is from Las Vegas and coming to the prep as a defensive tackle. "We talk about everybody coming in ready to work,'' Niusulu said about the incoming prep class. "You really can't make predictions, but as long as we have the mindset to push on through we should be set.''
Niusulu had to do that last season when his high school was going through a 1-9 season. The team had won the conference championship his sophomore year, and was coming off a winning season from junior year.
He had played defensive tackle prior to being moved to end, and last year also played offense, including center, guard and tackle. "We don't have that many players, so you have to be an iron man,'' he said. "I prefer playing defense. I love going after the ball. I like to get physical. I'm not that fast so I use strength over speed.
"I know that Army is about speed,'' he added, "so I am going to have to get stronger and quicker.''
At 6-foot-1, the defensive end prospect said he would be comfortable playing at 235 pounds. He's around 225 right now.
Graduating June 16, he has about five weeks before reporting to West Point, which is the new location for the prep school.
During that time, aside from his workouts, he'll continue to get advice from his father, as well as from two brothers. His brother Zachery played football at UCLA C.J. played at Arizona State. "I have a big family,'' he said. "My grandmother has about 98 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I also have a sister.''
He will soon have a whole bunch of new brothers.
"My father tells me to be mentally and physically strong. I'll be waking up early, keeping things clean, getting hair cuts. All that military stuff,'' he said with a laugh.
As to his academic choices, right now he likes the idea of communications, although he allows that once he gets to the Point he could well change his mind.
And what would his ideal job be?
"General Manager of an NFL team,'' he said. "I'd like that.''
In 10 years that idea could also change. After all, he's in the Army now.
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