Aaron Faumui 'imposing' presence comes from size and experience
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS)-- There's a lot of shifting within the UVA defense as players learn new positions, but for 6th year Aaron Faumui the closest thing he'll get to shifting, is shifting his knowledge.
Faumui has no secrets, and is always willing to pass on his tips and tricks as he has been credited with showing younger player new pass rushing techniques. Most recently Faumui taught one of his favorite moves, the jump cross chop to junior Michael Diatta, who now suits up as Faumui's backup on the defensive line. Even on the second string the D-line boasts the most talent and experience, and much of that is due to the wisdom passed on from older vets like Faumui.
"I got a lot of pressures on it last year," said UVA senior defensive tackle Aaron Faumui, "It's basically a move I stole from one of the greats Aaron Donald. He uses it a lot and I mimic a lot of his game."
Just like Faumui copied Donald's game so do the younger players look up to the 6th year defensive tackle. And rightfully so. Over the course of Faumui's long tenure with the Cavaliers he has played in 48 games, making 102 tackles and 10 sacks. That move in particular helped the Hawaiian lead the UVA defense in 2022 as he racked up 8.5 tackles for loss.
"You know we've played a lot of football together," said UVA senior defensive tackle Jahmeer Carter, "I think he's heading in the right direction, you know coming out and getting better as much as possible you know I'm excited to see him back 100 percent, so it's going to be a good one."
Faumui is now one of the oldest and wisest on the team but like any player or college student it didn't start out that way. The record book would indicate that Faumui had no issue transitioning to collegiate play as he appeared in 12 of UVA’s 13 games with four starts as a true freshman, but behind the scenes the Hawaiian native struggled with the distance.
"I'm not going to lie the first couple months were really really hard," said Faumui, "I thought about going home multiple times but you know I fought through it and I dug deep and I'm here now."
Now 6 years later, as one of the most veteran guys on the team, Faumui's commanding presence doesn't just come from his size but his experience. Last year Faumui was tied for second most starts among returning players and received an All ACC honorable mention. Entering his final year Faumui has already gotten nods for the Phil Steele Preseason All-ACC Third Team as well as the Athlon Sports Preseason All-ACC Fourth Team Defense.
"Aaron is a big, physical, imposing young man," said UVA Defensive Coordinator," John Rudzinski, "Great worker, does a great job as far as he has natural leverage. At the same time he is a 300 pounder that likes to throw it around so you know you put all that together and you're tough to block."