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'Mo-Mo' Fifita gives Air Force 320 big reasons to be excited about his potential

August 27, 2017 Updated: August 28, 2017 at 7:56 am
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photo - Defensive lineman Mosese Fifita practices at Falcon Stadium Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, at Air Force Academy. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette
Defensive lineman Mosese Fifita practices at Falcon Stadium Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017, at Air Force Academy. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette 

Air Force has never before had a player eclipse 300 pounds.

Mosese Fifita is about to blow that figure away, weighing in at 320 on the official roster heading into the season.

As mo' has long been slang for more, it's fitting that the Falcons call him Mo-Mo.

But the sophomore nose guard wouldn’t be in line for a starting role – or even at the academy – if this were just mo’ weight for weight’s sake.

“You’re talking about a rare breed, to be that big and that light on your feet,” defensive coordinator Steve Russ said. “And he’s got really good balance, too. To play that position in our defense, especially against the under-center, triple-option stuff, it’s just thunderdome.”

Fifita won a high school state wrestling title in Washington, then put together an unbeaten national championship season as an Air Force preppie. The prep school doesn’t officially field a wrestling team, so his title came in the NCWA – which consists of a mix of scholarship-offering varsity programs and club teams from major universities like Iowa and Penn State. He went 14-0 that season at 285, making him one of just three wrestlers at that level to run the table.

Now he’s set to stop anyone trying to run up the middle against Air Force at a position that defensive line coach Tim Cross summarizes by saying a nose guard must provide a physical presence in the middle, “beat up the center,” be a run stopper and draw double teams in the pass rush.

“Because of what we do, our guys have got to be able to have quick feet, be agile, be able to move,” Cross said. “They’re run stoppers, but they’re not just plug-the-drain guys who don’t move. They have to be able to move and get skinny. I know that sounds tough, but there’s times they’ll have to be athletes.”

Fifita is not eligible to talk to the media as a sophomore, but others had plenty to say about him.

“He’s a heck of a wrestler,” coach Troy Calhoun said. “He’s rarely knocked off of his feet. Good power. You’ve seen over the last week or so he’s getting into football shape, he’s really been able to handle extended plays, too.”

Added fellow defensive lineman Santo Coppola, “I love what I see out of him. For a big guy he’s quick, physical. You can tell some of the offensive guys are a little more worried when he’s in because they’ve got to try to move him.”

One of those offensive guys, center Alex Norton, didn’t seem to disagree.

“I think he’s going to be really good,” Norton said. “He’s definitely big, and he’s actually very quick with his hands for as big as he is. I think he uses his weight pretty good, too.”

And there’s plenty of that weight to use. Mo’ than any Falcon. Ever.

 

COMPANY IN THE 300 CLUB

Mosese Fifita may be the biggest Air Force player in history, but he’s not alone in breaking the 300-pound barrier. Reserve offensive lineman Blake Davis, a sophomore from Conyers, Ga., is listed at 6-foot, 310 pounds in the latest roster.

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