Hawaii’s Blessman Ta’ala proud to represent his family and American Samoa


New Mexico quarterback Tevaka Tuioti (8) is sacked by Hawaii defensive lineman Blessman Ta’ala (55) during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Rainbow Warriors’ nose tackle, Blessman Ta’ala, has been a mainstay on the defensive line since the moment he arrived in Manoa. The junior is making his 27th career start tomorrow night against Wyoming. Blessman is one of eight American Samoa natives on the roster this year and one of three starting on the U.H.’s new War Dog defense. The Faga’itua graduate is proud to represent his family and his entire hometown anytime he steps on the field.

“The rock walk was really emotional for us. The 1st 50 I was thinking about my whole family back home. The pictures in our lockers – my grandma, my grandpa, my mom, my uncles and aunties, even my father. The next 50 yards I picture myself making big plays in that stadium,” Ta’ala said during media availability this week, “After the game I can back and saw a couple of message from kids back in high school. I took the time to reply to them. It gives them the confidence that I’m still over here playing D1 football and still talking to them.”

Ta’ala is coming off a four tackle performance in the season opener last Saturday. In his career he’s racked 55 total tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, a sack and was an All-Mountain West honorable mention a year ago. The ‘Bows are certainly hoping for more sack production this year. Blessman and the front seven show signs against Fresno that pressuring the quarterback will be better than in 2019, registering three sacks, and six tackles-for-loss.

“This year we were anticipating that because of our attacking defense. Last year we basically stayed in four highs and zero, holding blocks. This year we have movement calls that basically equals to TFLs and sacks.”

Hawai’i faces Wyoming Friday night. Kick-off is at 3:45 Hawai’i time on Fox Sports One.

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