Golden Bear Preview: Sioape Vatikani
Yes please inject this man's play style in my veins
After a week off due to finishing finals for my second year of college, we are back to our regularly scheduled content. Sioape Vatikani is my personal favorite signee from this years signing class. He is everything you want in an offensive lineman, especially when it comes to his football IQ and ability to use his frame to his advantage. Also, we are now making the turn back to more signees with more information available, so look for some more in depth analysis instead of measly predictions.
The Bio and Measurables:
6 ft 3 inches
Bishop Manogue Catholic High School (via Sun Valley, NV)
What does Cal have in Vatikani?
Sioape Vatiakni is a big, nasty offensive lineman who looks to have a good basis for his foundation as he enters a Golden Bear. Among several things he does well is that he uses his power to straight up dominate opponents while also doing proper handoffs and disengagement techniques to quell and balance the power within the context of the game. Look at the play at the :37 second mark here, the defense sends an overload blitz to his left side, where he chips the defensive lineman over to his left guard before bouncing and picking up the blitzing linebacker, something that linemen even in the pros struggle with. A lineman that can pass off a stunt and overload blitzes is something that you cannot have enough of especially because of the presence of mind within the game. It illustrates to coaches and fans at home that the player can process the game quickly and essentially a step ahead because that is what the stunts and overload blitzes try to exploit: a lack of preparation. His ability to think and transfer on the fly is a sight for sore eyes, mainly because I’m so used to the Cal offensive line making the most inexplicable communication problems. Vatikani picked up the blitz like it was a stunt package handoff, and did so with precision. Another thing he does really well is despite winning his blocks at the point of attack, he disengages the blocks effectively to not draw penalties or force himself into a bad situation. His technique allows him to backoff and reengage, and not simply try to block all the way through and inevitably hold as the defensive lineman would fall down.
Is there anything Vatikani can improve on?
Not going to lie, there isn’t anything that jumps off the screen as needing improvement for Vatikani. He’s the most exciting offensive lineman prospect I’ve seen in such a long time, and frankly I can’t wait until he steps on to campus. He doesn’t seem like a penalty machine which is also a good thing and I think he will put his football IQ to good use once he steps on campus. I think Vatikani’s future is in the interior line, as with that IQ, he can do wonders like a Atonio Mafi of UCLA could. I don’t see much of any issues other than the competition his school played, but other than that I love what we have here. He looks ready for the big stage and looks to be the type of offensive lineman that Stanford wish they could have for their power scheme.
Awards and Accolades (via Calbears.com):
3x First Team all state offensive line
1x First team all state defensive line (2021)
1x Second team all state defensive line (2020)
1x First team all region (2019)
3* composite across all sites
also a 1x Nevada state shot put champion in track and field
Junior season hudl: http://www.hudl.com/v/2FLv8Z
^ you’ll want to watch that for sure, IQ is off the charts
Best of luck to Sioape as he starts his Cal career!