Brown readies himself to transfer to Brigham Young

Lauren Gandara and Lauren Gandara

Known to the Cerritos College football team as a “physical force on the defensive line” last season, defensive end Ma’ataua “Ma’a” Brown begins this season trying to impress his future coaches at Brigham Young University.

Brown pledged to sign with BYU for the 2013 football season after being recruited by the team during the 2011 season.

Unlike most college football players, Brown has only played for about five years.

He didn’t begin playing football until his sophomore year at Paramount High School.

Brown said that he has always loved football, but his mother Salamasina Brown was unaware of his interest in playing.

“He never showed me any interest in wanting to play. He was just like the quiet kid that doesn’t want to associate with anybody or get into activities like this (football). It was kind of like a shocker to me.”

During Brown’s first year of playing football, he went to straight to playing varsity as the offensive tackle where he received the “Sophomore Athlete of the Year” award.

The following year as a junior, he received the “Junior Athlete of the Year” award. He also contributed to his team’s California Interscholastic Federation Championship win that year.

Brown’s brother Michael said about his skills in football, “(Since he began playing) I haven’t seen anybody match up his skill. There hasn’t been anybody who overpowered my brother or can go head up and take him down.”

“My brother can be very nice, he can be your best friend, [and] he can be anything you want him to be when you’re off the field. But when he puts his pads on, his helmet on, he’s a whole different person.”

After high school, Brown decided to attend Cerritos College in order to get more experience on the field and was also undecided about his major.

According to the Cerritos College Falcons website, in his first year playing for Cerritos College, Brown recorded 29 tackles overall with 12 solo tackles, as well as eight quarterback hurries and a season-high four tackles against Allan Hancock College.

This season, he practices aside his cousin, defensive tackle Ima Polamalu, who recently transferred from the University of Utah.

Polamalu said, “Ma’a is the heart and soul of the defensive line so he does his thing out there. He’s ‘the guy,’ everybody counts on him. When I came in here from the University of Utah, that’s one thing I noticed about Ma’a is that everybody looks up to him.”

He said that he is a big inspiration to the team and makes his other teammates want to put in their 110 percent.

Polamalu said as far as Brown’s success at the university level, “It runs through our bloodline. He’s going to do [well] at BYU.”

Being Samoan, he said that Brown’s size and the way he plays the game were two factors that contributed to BYU’s offer.

Other university choices for Brown to transfer to included Oregon State and the University of Washington.

Washington recruited Brown; however, religion played a big part in his decision to go to BYU.

“I like how every Sunday, each classroom is like a church service. Right now I’m working on trying to become stronger and get back into the church,” Brown said.

Being Mormon, he would like to stay a strong church member and he feels that BYU would be the best environment to do that

According to Deseret News, BYU said that they expect Brown to “contribute immediately.”

He said that he is nervous and can’t really put into words the feelings he has after hearing what is expected of him.

Brown said that as of right now he feels that he isn’t ready to transfer and play for BYU. He feels that there is room to improve and there are still things that the Cerritos College coaches can teach him.

“Every week I’m still learning and I still have a lot to learn.”

Comparing to how he did last season, he said that he’ll work harder, get in better shape and train harder this season.

Brown said that while having a love for the sport, his other inspiration to do well in football is to make his parents proud.

“My main goal is to make them happy and proud that I’m doing good in school and football.”

Salamasina said that she is very proud, supports Brown, and wants to see him succeed in the sport.

With six siblings, Brown said that he works as hard as he does on the field so that his family won’t have to struggle financially.

“I come out here and I play for them, because I see that it’s hard and don’t want my parents struggling. They’re the main reason why I do this because I don’t like the way they struggle so I’m to trying to get them out [of a tough situation] and take care of my family.”

Brown stated that he wants to study Kinesiology and his future goal after college includes playing for his favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys.

His current role model in the game is outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. He is impressed by his skills but said he has a long way to go before he reaches that level.

Brown said that if he doesn’t make it to the NFL, he would like to become a football coach.

According to Michael, Brown already coaches his siblings that are in football and uses the technique and skills he has been given and taught so that they can be just as skilled.

“My brother goes home every day and he watches his little brothers play and tells them what to do and how to do [it] so when they come here [Cerritos] to watch him, they see it and they learn from it.”