With a new football season comes a handful of new Mormons in the NFL.
Star Lotulelei is with the Carolina Panthers; Ziggy Ansah plays for the Detroit Lions; Manti Te’o and Brad Sorensen are teammates with the San Diego Chargers.
Lotulelei, a defensive tackle taken by the Panthers with the 14th pick in April’s draft, was recently featured in a Charlotte Observer article by Tom Sorensen.
“He’s been everything we thought he could be and maybe a little more,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera told the Observer. “He’s done some really good things. He’s shown his athleticism, he’s shown his power and strength and he’s a sharp kid.”
The Lions are pleased with Ansah’s performance in the preseason thus far, according to the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. Lions’ coach Jim Schwartz likes what he sees in the fifth overall pick from BYU.
“There was a lot of things he needed to take a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2, and I think he did,” Schwartz said. “He didn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he played a lot more consistent and was much more effective within our defense. So I thought that was a bright spot.”
Sorensen, who served an LDS mission in Spain, is competing for a quarterback job in San Diego. He is doing a respectable job for a rookie, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. One blogger (Boltbeat.com) has been impressed by Sorensen’s play and has nicknamed him “The Latter Game Saint.”
In college football notes, Chris Foster of the LATimes.com recently reported that UCLA’s Xavier Su’a-Filo has been temporarily moved from guard to left tackle to replace an injured teammate. Su’a-Filo, who served a mission in Florida, will be an important part of the Bruins’ offensive line this season.
Speaking of missions, third-year Temple running back Spencer Reid, the youngest son of the former Philadelphia Eagles’ coach Andy Reid, is leaving the program to serve a Mormon mission, according to the Temple University athletic department and Phillynews.com. Reid played in four games last season.
In rugby news, Will Hopoate will soon return from his mission to compete for the Parramatta Eels. Triplem.com.au is reporting that Hopoate will honor his $850,000-a-year deal.
Finally, former New Zealand All-Black Jonah Lomu has updated his book, “Jonah: My Story.” Lomu is considered rugby’s first truly international celebrity and he remains one of the game’s greatest heroes. In a Q&A featured on the Waikato Times, Lomu is asked “If you could make the whole world read one book, what would it be?”
“The Book of Mormon,” he said.