SALT LAKE CITY — BYU's football team has lost the Big Mo.
That, by the way, has nothing to do with momentum. Rather, it's a reference to the massive man who's as big as a Polynesian island, Motekiai "Mo" Langi. The 6-foot-7, 400-plus-pound defensive lineman announced on Instagram that his football career is over because of a "recurring neck injury."
"My time of playing football has come to an abrupt end. Due to surgery and a recurring neck injury," he wrote on his Instagram account @molangi60. "Discontinuing football is at the best interest of my health, my family, and my future. I have enjoyed and loved everything that football has taught me.
"I'd like to thank everyone that had a part on getting me over here to BYU. Grateful for everyone that helped, supported, and encouraged me these past couple of years. I am truly grateful for Coach Sitake, BYU football, and BYU for the opportunities that they have given and opened up for me. On to the next chapter … ."25 comments on this story
BYU made national news in 2015 by signing the inexperienced but enormous Langi, a cousin to former Cougar linebacker Harvey Langi. Though the Tongan had never played football, then-BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall decided to offer him a scholarship while the rugby and basketball player was en route to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Arizona.
Coaches figured it was worth giving him a chance because of his enormous stature. Langi lost 100 pounds and was credited for improving after his mission, but he was never able to crack the regular rotation. His one-armed tacklein fall camp of 2017 did go viral, though.