Koa Misi: A Closer Look
By Shane Ford
There were several names of players many Dolphin fans coveted when it came time for the Miami Dolphins pick in round two. When the
announcement was made and the name Koa Misi was called with players like Sergio Kindle, Torell Troup, Taylor Mays, and Terrence Cody still available, like the first round pick many fans were a little set back. I remember being in the chat room on this forum (Which by the way if you haven’t checked it out during a Dolphins game you should stop by this season, we have a good time win or lose spending the game with other Dolphin fans, yes I know it was a shameless plug, but hey I was feeling left out after “The Decision.”) stating to watch out for Misi as a possibility for the pick. I really thought the pick would be Kindle, but my feeling was if they passed on him and Hughes in round one, they may not go for him here. I don’t want to take credit for calling my shot here, but I will give myself a little credit for throwing him out there as a strong possibility, but hey, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then right?
Ok, so back to Nawa’akoa Lisiate Foti Analeseanoa Misi, wow sure is a good thing he just goes by Koa. Misi is from Santa Rosa, California. In high school he lettered in football, basketball and baseball, while maintaining honor role status. He was a roving linebacker that played with his hand up and hand in the dirt. He earned All-Conference honors twice and won his league’s Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season. According to CBS Sports Misi was offered scholarships from Utah, Colorado, San Diego State, Boise State, and Oregon. However, at that point and time Koa was burnt out on football and wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing. Instead of accepting one of the scholarships he enrolled at Santa Rosa JUCO not to play football, but to attend classes. After seeing his friends and teammates playing football for the JUCO Misi began to wonder if he made the right choice. Misi decided to join the squad and ended up being a first team All-Northern California defensive end.
Misi decided he wanted to continue his football career and accepted a scholarship to Utah. In his first season at Utah he played in all 13 games starting the final 11 and two of those starts were at defensive tackle. He was undersized but used his leg strength to establish leverage and finished the season third in tackles on the team and 8 tackles for loss with 2.5 sacks.
In 2008 Misi became Second team all-conference, starting all 13 games and once again when injuries mounted on the defensive line Misi was moved to defensive tackle for a game. He led the defensive linemen in tackles and finished third on the team for the second consecutive year. Misi paired up with Paul Kruger to former one of the most formidable defensive end pairs in the country.
In 2009 Misi was poised to take over where Kruger left off. Misi made the move to RDE but in August he suffered a back injury that set him back and caused him to miss the opening game. The injury turned out to be merely a speed bump in a very good senior campaign for Misi. He led all Mountain West defensive linemen with 71 tackles including 5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for a loss. His on the field accomplishments earned him first team All Mountain West Conference honors. Misi was also a team captain for the Utes in 2009.
Misi is a high character guy, with a high football IQ and a relentless work ethic. The more I read about and watch film of him the more I understand why the Trifecta liked him over other players. Most defensive ends struggle a bit making the switch from a hand in the dirt player to a stand up player in the first season or two. Misi may very well struggle some as well, but I believe he will make an impact right away on the Dolphins defense and win the starting SOLB spot in camp and will never look back. His experience at playing a roving linebacker in high school and playing some snaps with his hand off the ground at Utah will be invaluable in Miami. Misi has a non-stop motor and a quick first step. While playing defensive end he saw many double teams in 2009 and found a way to fight them off at a successful rate. He shouldn’t have a problem taking on bigger offensive linemen. He is strong enough to handle himself when he is locked up and quick enough to make bigger linemen miss.
I am excited to see how Misi does in Mike Nolan’s defense. This defense is about creating pressure and disguising blitzes. I feel Wake on one side and Misi on the other will soon give Miami one of if not the best pass rushing outside linebacker tandems in the NFL. Misi will have miscues as all rookies do, but I feel he will learn from his mistakes and come back stronger. I will give Misi and outside shot at Rookie of the Year honors in 2010 because he will have the opportunity to be put in a position to make plays and he has the ability and football intelligence to make the plays.