Growing up, all Siaki Ika knew was football. The youngest of six children, he watched his older siblings play football. If his family wasn’t playing football, they spent Sundays watching it.
Ika started playing little league football when he was 8, taking after his older brothers.
When he got to middle school, he said the competition pushed him to work harder.
“My favorite part of football is the competition and the excitement,” Ika said. “It’s so intense.”
The junior defensive tackle plays at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ika played on junior varsity during his freshman and sophomore years before moving up to varsity for junior year.
A four-star recruit, according to 247Sports, Ika has received offers from 16 schools, including Alabama, Michigan State and Wisconsin.
He also plays on the basketball team at East High, but said the transition between seasons isn’t hard to handle.
“I just like to focus on football most of the time but during basketball season, I get to focus on that,” Ika said. “The joy of playing keeps me motivated so I play as much as I can.”
When Ika got his first scholarship offer from Brigham Young University in June 2016, he said it was a shock, since he didn’t expect to play college football.
“I was always a BYU fan growing up, so it was really cool to get an offer from them,” he said. “I tell my friends not to make a big deal, because I’m still the same guy that hangs out with them on the weekends.”
Likeila Ika, Ika’s father, said he never doubted that his son would be great.
“He has always been good, because I think he was born with the ability to play,” Likeila said. “I watched all of his little league games and took him to practice. It was easy because I like football too, so I enjoyed it.”
Ika committed to BYU in 2017 but announced this February that he decommitted to weight all his options.
— Siaki Ika'🦁 (@Jackfish801) February 18, 2018
“The past few months have been hectic, but I won’t get ahead of myself,” Ika said. “Playing is a privilege and it won’t last forever so I am going to enjoy it while I can.”