With the second day of our tribute to the PAC-12 era, we honor #98, and the clear top choice to be highlighted is none other than...
Splitting his high school time between national champs, Euless Trinity in Texas, as state champions Bingham, at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley, Viliseni “Seni” Fauonuku’s signing was mired with controversy due to a run-in with the law that led to the then 17-year-old high school senior admitting to felony robbery in juvenile court, serving 125 hours of community service and six months of probation. Despite his highly publicized legal issues, then-assistant head coach, John Pease, believed in Fauonuku enough to keep his scholarship offer to the defensive tackle who would sign to Utah’s inaugural PAC-12 class in 2011. While at the University of Utah, Fauonuku earned honorable mention Academic All PAC-12 honors during his redshirt season in 2012 and became a dependable backup until his senior season in 2015 when he started 8 games and tied a school record with four sacks against Colorado. His heroic efforts against the Buffaloes would conclude with a game-sealing forced fumble that ultimately helped Utah claim a share of the PAC-12 South title. Fortunately for man, Seni’s heroics weren’t limited to the football field.
Just years after an armed robbery incident threatened his entire future, Fauonuku was in the news again, but this time for his life-saving efforts when he performed CPR to restart a man’s heart, a skill he had learned from his mother, Gina, a nurse by trade. Currently, the former Ute is a coach with AHMPT_UP, a defensive-line focused camp for youth, offering free camps throughout Utah and California.