SOURCE – Hawaii’s record-setting quarterback Timmy Chang, a college teammate of Sopoaga’s in 2003 and 2004, said he didn’t recall seeing the star lineman throwing but added, “That guy is an urban legend. I’ve seen him not take a step and explode up to dunk a basketball at 300-plus pounds.”
Former college football player-turned NFL agent C.J. LaBoy can’t confirm the arm but says, “Isaac used to lift TREES back in Samoa for training. I haven’t heard the 80-yard throw, but that wouldn’t be surprising. He was a monster.”
“He could throw it almost 100 yards. I saw it,” [June] Jones says. “Before the games, he’d stand at one end and throw it almost to the other (end zone). He had a good motion. Even if he threw a wobbler, it’d still go 85 yards. It was amazing. His hip turn obviously had a lot to do with it.”
Sopoaga blossomed into a dominant force for UH before heading to the NFL, where he displayed some of that freakish ability at the 2004 scouting combine. He weighed 317 pounds and clocked a 4.97 40-yard dash. Jones expected him to hit a jaw-dropping 50 or 52 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Sopoaga did 42.
“I think he thought the record was 41, so he did 42 and stopped,” Jones said. “He had done 48 in training, so I was thinking with the adrenaline, he’d get 50 or 52. The guy is an unbelievable natural athlete.”
Me and my cousin Junior Siavii’s teammate from Oregon, Igor Olshansky, became good friends. Igor is a huge guy. He went before me. He did 41 reps. I was like, ‘Oh, my own target is like 35.’ In my mind, I didn’t know why 225 was important. I sat on the bench. I said my prayer. Lay down. Touch the bar. It felt cool. It should have felt warm. I just started going. I got to 18, I stopped. I asked the coach that day, ‘How many did he do?’ He said 41. While I’m holding the weight, I said, ‘41 here I come.’ Then, I start going — 19. 20. 21. … All the way to 41, 42. Then I racked it. There was no sense of my arms getting tight. I don’t know why I stopped.”
So, what are the most reps of 225 pounds Sopoaga ever did on the bench press?
“In 2011, I did 74 non-stop,” he says.
It’s a big day for Offensive Lineman on the Wooderboys today. I might have to institute Big Ugly Fridays and feature more Animals of the A Gap.
I’m a big Samoan athlete guy. If the Eagles draft a Samoan in the 5th round immediately he becomes the steal of the Draft. Remember when they drafted Jordan Mailata? I was drawing up goal line designs to use that guy in before ESPN finished his highlights. I could read stories about Isaac Sopoaga for the rest of my life. These are the stories I assume every Samoan football player has growing up. He was carrying a 300 lb fruit truck up a hill 1.5 miles every day. He’s country strong. I just think Samoan athletes hire the wrong agents. If I was Isaac Sopoaga’s agent I’d have him flying up the Draft board. I’d be leaking stories left and right to the press about how he tore 300lb trees out of the ground with his bare hands. He carried six children and an old woman out of a burning house at the same time like they were grocery bags.
Maybe Chip Kelly never worked out here because Jeffrey Lurie wouldn’t let him play the QB he really wanted to. Would you take Sammy Sleeves or Sopoaga launching 80 yard Go Routes to Josh Huff? Yea screens and checkdowns would be non-existent, but just think about it. The 49ers and Chiefs won with speed and big arm QBs. And if the pocket collapsed Sopoaga could SCOOT!
I need more Eagles scouts in Hawaii and less scouting guys in the Pac-12.