SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Let’s play the name game.
When he first got to Utah, he was known as George Wilson. Three years later, he goes by Siaosi Mariner. Same guy, different name. How did this come to be? Well, first name first, Sioasi means George in Polynesian.
“When I was younger, my Aunty Val, may she rest in peace, she gave me the name Siaosi,” he said. “It kind of stuck to me as a family name. When I got to college, I kind of wanted to make it more known. George and Siaosi is the same name, so I still go by George. I’m still George Mariner, but if you know me good, you can call me Siaosi too.”
Wilson is his father’s surname, but Siaosi wanted to honor his mother, Anna Mariner, who raised him as a single parent. So before this season, he changed his last name to Mariner.
“She’s meant the world,” Mariner said. “It’s not easy growing up in a single parent household. She has four other kids to worry about too. She took that under her wing and she took that responsibility and she held her own. It gets tough, it gets hard, but I see her get up everyday and do it, so I’ll go ahead and do the same thing as her. She’s my rock.”
But if the name change is too confusing, Siaosi has another suggestion.
“We’re at the point where you can just go ahead and call me Sauce,” he said. “We can stick to that one and make it easy for everybody.”
It’s not likely that head coach Kyle Whittingham will be calling him Sauce, but Mariner has been the hot receiver in training camp, turning heads with some great catches.
“He’s doing great,” Whittingham said. “He’s been around, but it’s his time to step it up and make a bigger impact. He’s aware of that, and he knows the expectations. We’ll see what happens.”
Mariner knows the receiving corps is not getting a lot of respect, mainly because of a lack of experience. But he says the entire group is going to surprise people this season.
“I’m excited along with the rest of the guys,” he said. “I feel like a bunch of us have been in the shadows. We’ve finally got that time to step into the spotlight, and I feel like a lot of us are going to take full advantage of it.”
Mariner has also developed into a leader on the team with his exuberant personality.
“I’m like that friendly uncle,” he said. “I’m like that uncle that’s always going to want you to have fun. When I’m out here, I’m always reminding the guys that it’s a kids game and you just want to come out here and have fun.”
That’s the name of the game.