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Utah State commit DT Chris Unga has impressive football bloodlines

Published January 27, 2014 5:06 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The name "Unga" might not be a popular one in Logan at the moment. Many Utah State fans can tell you it was BYU linebacker Uani Unga who was tackling Chuckie Keeton at the very moment he was injured this year.

Perhaps it's karma or some other equally deep force that has brought Chris Unga, Uani's little brother, to commit his talents to Utah State. Only a day after his commitment to Aggie football, the younger Unga was feeling at ease talking down his older brother and now rival.

"Uani is a good player," Chris Unga said. "When I'm going [to Utah State], I'm trying to be a great player. He knows it."

The Aggies bagged their latest recruit Sunday, a 6-foot-1, 275-pound California defensive tackle who will serve an LDS Church Mission before starting his career in Logan. Unga chose the Aggies over Arizona State, San Jose State and Hawaii - all schools that wanted him to come play right away.

That wasn't kosher with Unga, who said it's important for him to serve his mission first.

But that wasn't the only asset Utah State had in its corner: Unga said he was impressed by the football facilities and had a good time attending the Aggies' "White Out" game Saturday night.

"I've never seen anything like that in my life," he said. "I probably won't see anything like that until I come back again."

Unga was recruited by offensive line coach Mark Weber out of Rancho Cucamonga High, where he was an all-league defensive MVP this past year. Maxpreps.com lists his stats as 50 tackles and four sacks this past season.

But even beyond his experience, the most promising thing about Unga may well be in his blood: Four of his brothers have gone on to play Division I football at BYU, Oregon State, Arizona and Hawaii. The fifth brother, Joe Unga, went to Division II Midwestern State, and got picked up in NFL training camp last summer.

"I guess if I didn't go DI, there would be a lot of presure on me," said Chris, the youngest.

Unga said family and friends expected him to stay closer to his California roots, but he likes Utah. He also felt very comfortable bonding with defensive line coach Frank Maile, who he said he could imagine himself getting along with in college.

Once he returns from his mission, the Aggies want Unga to play nose guard.

Although Uani gave his little brother some grief for committing to one of BYU's rivals, Chris said there is nothing but love between them. And there may be more love before too long.

"He's going to be one of the biggest Utah State fans," Chris said. "He don't know it yet."

Watch Unga's Hudl footage by clicking here.

Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon




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