SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – There’s no question that Kyle Whittingham will play the best players, no matter how young they are.
We saw it with the decision to go with sophomore Tyler Huntley at quarterback over senior Troy Williams, and freshman Samson Nacua is earning a lot of reps at wide receiver.
After tearing it up for Timpview High, playing for Kyle Whittingham’s brother Cary, Nacua walked on to the Utah football team last year. He earned a scholarship, and now looks like he’s going to be a factor in the receiving corps.
“I’ve just been trying to make plays for the team and catch the ball every time I get the opportunity,” said Nacua, who won a state championship with the Thunderbirds at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2014. “If the ball comes my way, I just try to make sure I catch it.”
“[He’s been] really good,” Whittingham said. “Really, really good. He got slowed down the other day by a minor setback physically, but he’s been very impressive and he will be a contributor right away. Yes he will.”
If the name Nacua sounds familiar, it’s because Samson’s brother Kai was a star safety at BYU and is now trying to make the Cleveland Browns. Growing up in Provo, Samson didn’t think he’d ever play for the Utes.
“At first I really wanted to go to the Cougars, play with my brother and keep it in the family,” he said. “But then they stopped recruiting me my junior year, then Utah started coming in my vision. I was like yep, that’s the way to go.”
What was Kai’s reaction to his brother joining the Utes?
“He was a little butt hurt at first, but he’s gone now,” Samson said. “So, he’s accepting the fact that I’m a Ute. He’s OK with it.”
But Kai isn’t actually going to root for Utah, is he?
“No, I don’t think so,” Samson said. “But he’ll come here, wearing his BYU stuff probably.”
Regardless of how much he plays this season, Nacua is willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field.
“My role is to do what I’m supposed to do,” Nacua said. “Do what I need to do to help the team. That’s what I’m going to do, either make plays if it’s on the scout team or wherever they’re going to put me. I’m going to make plays and help the team.”
And there is another Nacua brother playing football at Orem High. Puka Nacua caught two touchdowns for the Tigers against Bingham last week. So where is he going to go to college?
“There aren’t going to be any more Cougars in the family,” Samson said. “I’m getting Puka to come here for sure. There’s no way he’s going over there.”