BY BARRY WONG
After watching him for a few games, Liberty head football coach Rich Muraco knew he had something special with lineman Jarvis Polu.
“Making the impression that he did on the coaches and teammates, we called him up to varsity about halfway through his freshman year.”
Four years, 102 tackles and 12 sacks later, Muraco has to say goodbye to the Patriot he introduced on National Signing Day as the “most decorated player in school history.”
“It’s difficult because you get close with kids and see them grow up and mature,” Muraco said.
Polu, along with 11 other Liberty Patriots, signed National Letter of Intents to compete in college next year.
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“This is what it’s all about, getting kids to the next level, seeing their dreams fulfilled,” Muraco said.
Polu selected Navy over hometown UNLV and his earlier verbal commitment Army.
“It just shows me all the hard work that I put in actually paid off, and other people actually recognize it,” he said. “It’s just mesmerizing, how great this moment can be.”
Polu said he felt more at home within the Navy program, particularly the family and brotherhood atmosphere.
“It’s good to know that you’ll have brothers by your side, knowing that I’m going to be across the country.”
For quarterback Tyler Newman, signing day ended a long period of uncertainty.
“The main one was happy, but the second biggest emotion was probably stress,” he said.
Despite throwing for 3,979 yards and 42 touchdowns, including a state-record nine against Del Sol this season, and helping lead the Patriots to a 10-4 record and trip to the state semifinals, Newman ended the football season without any kind of verbal commitment to a college.
“It was kind of getting frustrating towards the end of my season, but I kind of just embraced all these smaller schools that started talking to me,” he said.
Dixie State was one of those schools, offering Newman a scholarship this past Saturday. Newman committed and remained committed despite a last-second offer from Air Force.
“These coaches (Dixie State) were the first coaches to take a chance on me,” Newman said. “That means a lot to me.”
Newman will have one his Liberty teammates with him in St. George. Offensive lineman Scott Hughes also signed with Dixie State.