No. 94 Sione Takitaki – Linebacker, Defensive end – 2014-2018
Wait what? What is Takitaki doing here at No. 94?! Seriously? But… he was just drafted in the third round!
As a reminder, to make the Top 100 player of BYU history, one has to be in the top 3-4% of BYU players of all time. Takitaki’s senior season granted him a top 60 spot, however his off the field issues and first three seasons with the team are what drops him back to No. 94.
Takitaki was suspended from the team AT LEAST four times and was arrested once while playing for BYU. The first suspension came before he even took the field the first time after a fight in the dorms. Later that year he was suspended after a good game against Middle Tennessee for not showing up for practice. In the summer of 2015, Takitaki was arrested for allegedly stealing apparel from some of the other BYU teams. This resulted first in a one game suspension and after pleading guilty, he was suspended for the entire season for breaking “team rules”.
Overall, this player seems like the kind of guy you don’t want on a team, but he redeemed himself, got married and is now going to the NFL. In his final two and half years with the team, Takitaki improved his life and ended up being a team captain his senior season.
Takitaki should have been the kind of guy that was a four year starter, however because of his suspensions he missed seven games and the entire 2016 season. Sure he got an extra year later, but having that gap has a negative impact. Takitaki showed up in 2018 as a huge impact player. His performances against Wisconsin, Utah and Western Michigan are ultimately what probably got him momentum which ended up getting him to the NFL as a third rounder.
Again with limited time in his first two seasons, the statistics are not really good for those two years. In his junior season, while playing defensive end, Takitaki had 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks. His senior year while at linebacker, Takitaki still was able to get nine tackles for loss and three sacks. The most impressive stat though is the tackles. In 2018 Takitaki had six game with 11 or more tackles and five of those were in the final six games of the season. The other… yep it was Wisconsin.
Memorable Moments C+
Compared to other guys on this list, Takitaki just doesn’t have as many memorable moments as other players, especially when before the end of the 2018 season, his memories were getting into trouble. What does come to mind was his tackling style in the backfield. While working for BYUtv I often would cut up highlight reels of the defense and without even seeing the number, I could tell when Takitaki got the tackle because he would grab the player while in midair and swing them to the ground. Another memorable moment that comes to mind is the stops against Wisconsin. Everytime they Badgers tried to go sideways Takitaki was with Jonathan Taylor stride for stride cutting him off.
The most impressive memorable moment however is not one on paper or just one game. It was his journey from being a suspended freshman to 19 tackles in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to barely making the East-West shrine game to playing in the senior bowl and now being a third round draft pick for the upward trending Cleveland Browns.
That is called redemption.
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Be sure to check out all of our articles in the BYU Top 100!