Mormons in college football: Unga starting; Te'o to NFL talk

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

Returned missionary Kevin Unga has earned the starting middle linebacker job for Oregon State of the Pac-12, according to the Gazette Times in Corvallis, Ore.

Unga, a Hawaii native, signed with OSU along with his twin brother, Devin Unga, in 2006 before they served LDS missions in Chile and Guatemala, respectively. Devin Unga recently transfered to BYU.

While Kevin Unga is thriving at OSU, he remains cautious.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to win the job,” Unga told the Gazette Times. “I was hoping for it, but I can’t get too excited yet. We still have to play in the training camp before the season starts. Anything can happen.”

Meanwhile, another Mormon football player and Hawaii native could be headed to the NFL early, according to WNDU News in Indiana.

Notre Dame considers Manti Te'o "one of highest regarded and most-decorated defensive recruits to select Notre Dame in recent memory."

The WNDU article suggests that if Te'o has a particularly good year, he may skip his senior season and opt for the 2012 NFL Draft. But coach Brian Kelly said they're not even thinking about those possibilities for the moment and that "Manti didn't come here to go to the NFL."

Elsewhere, tight end Peter Tuitupou is now ready to contribute for San Jose State, according to the Mercury News. Tuitupou, a returned missionary, originally signed with Washington State in 2009.

"He has the athletic ability to contribute,’’ head coach Mike MacIntyre told the Mercury News.

Tuitupou will join his brother, David Tuitupou, who transferred from BYU and is competing for a starting position at defensive end.

Email: hbowler@desnews.com

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