Vita Vea is a big dude.
Actually, that’s an understatement – at 6’4”, 344 pounds, the former University of Washington nose tackle is massive, even by NFL standards.
So it’s kind of crazy that in college he actually got the chance to play quarterback. Well… sort of.
“I was a wildcat quarterback in high school,” Vea explained. “Once I showed my ability to run, our head coach eventually gave me a chance to throw the ball. But when it was time, I became way too focused on who I was throwing to and making sure that I threw the perfect spiral. So, I went back, did the three step drop, and let it go. But it was horrible and the ball went like 30 yards in the air. That was the last chance I ever had to be QB.”
Well, maybe the life of a signal caller wasn’t in the cards for Vea, but he may have picked up a different skill from his time behind center: his fast feet. The largest man on the field shouldn’t also be one of the quickest, but this 23-year-old defies those odds. He’s not out there to just clog lanes, he’s there to make plays.
At a position that usually doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, Vea was still able to rack up 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for losses over the last two seasons. He was the anchor to a stout Washington defense and helped push the team to another outstanding season.
And the person who gave him the push he needed every step of the way during his career is his older brother. “I was that little brother who followed my older brother everywhere,” Vea said. “No matter what I did, he would always lead me in the right direction. This included playing sports. That was always a big thing for us, but he also taught me so much about life and playing that extra role as a volunteer in the community.”
Whoever drafts Vea in April will be getting an asset to the team and to the city itself. But they’ll also be getting someone with a true passion for the game.
“The best advice I could give to a younger athlete is ‘have as much fun as you can,’” he said. “’Time flies fast and before you know it, you’ll be at the Combine, getting ready for the pros. So make sure to enjoy all of it.“