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U. of Pittsburgh
Recruiting: Pitt pins lineman, lures Virginia FB

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

By Mike White, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Pitt has a new football recruit who is a talented defensive lineman, but who also leaps from turnbuckles.

Afa Anoai, who will be a senior at Bethlehem Freedom High School, recently made a verbal commitment to Pitt. Anoai (6 feet 1, 265 pounds) is considered one of the better defensive linemen in eastern Pennsylvania.

"I've been coaching 30 years, and he's the best defensive lineman I've coached," said Freedom Coach Jim Morgans.

Morgans has been impressed by Anoai's strength and agility. But what also has impressed Morgans is Anoai's wrestling ability -- as in WWF style. Anoai is the son of Afa Anaoi Sr., one of the "Wild Samoans," a well-known former World Wrestling Federation tag team. Anoai's cousin is professional wrestler and actor "The Rock."

But the younger Anaoi also has participated in some wrestling events as an amateur.

"It's kind of the minor leagues for the WWF, and he's actually been on TV wrestling," Morgans said. "He's pretty amazing. He actually goes on that top rope and does belly dives and swan dives."

As a football player, Anaoi was ranked among the top 100 in the country this spring by recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. Morgans said Rutgers also had offered a scholarship, but a number of other Division I schools were close to offering.

Pitt also got a commitment recently from Mike Hull (5-11, 245), a fullback from Liberty High School in Bealeton, Va. Hull was a Class AA all-state selection last year after rushing for more than 1,300 yards.

"He visited Pittsburgh last week and he just fell in love with it," said Liberty Coach Tommy Buzzo.

Pitt was the first school to offer a scholarship, but Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland and Virginia Tech, among others, were interested.

"He's a real country boy," Buzzo said. "But he liked the big city. The first time he saw a picture of Pittsburgh on the Internet, he looked at those three rivers and said, 'Boy, I can't wait to do some fishing there.'

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