Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Keep an eye on -- Paul Finau
By Mason Kelley
BOTHELL, Wash. -- Paul Finau (Kirkland, Wash./Juanita) showed up at as many Washington practices as he could last fall.
With his brother, Jarett Finau, trying to establish himself as a redshirt freshman defensive end, Paul would watch from the sideline as the Huskies worked their way through drills.
However, while the 6-foot-2, 290-pound freshman was interested in watching his brother’s development, he would often shift his attention toward defensive tackle Danny Shelton.
“I’m really close to him, but he also plays my position,” Finau said. “He’s very smooth with his technique, so I just try to copy that.”
In his first year of high school football, Finau worked his way into the starting lineup on both sides of the ball. When asked what it was like to play on offense and defense as a freshman, Finau laughed.
“No breaks,” he said. “It was really fun to experience that. It was brand new to me, because it’s not like Pop Warner or little league where you just go in there and hit. The formations and everything, you’ve got to learn how to read them.”
When he was younger, Finau watched the work his brother put in to earn a Division I scholarship. The talented teenager is already putting in the time, both on the field and in the classroom, to ensure that in a few years he can have college options.
“It was really cool, watching my brother progress every time he came to the camps, so I’m just trying to follow in his footsteps, get to the top,” Finau said.
During a recent training session with the Barton Football Academy, Finau held his own against older linemen. But he knows he needs to get stronger and faster in order to take the next step as a prospect.
“I’m pretty big compared to most people, but I’m still low on experience,” Finau said.
While he takes every opportunity to watch his brother and Shelton, Finau might one day shift his attention to Washington’s offensive linemen. At this point, his future seems to point toward the offensive side of the ball.
That's fine with Finau. He just wants to eventually earn an opportunity to play at the next level.