Pome’e transitions to new defensive role


Nick Alvarado

Junior Pome’e is enjoying the transition to defensive line after three games for the Buffs.

Austin Heinen, Former Associate Editor

Team leaders can come in many forms and ways. Some are seen by their ability to learn things outside their normal routine, basic knowledge, and their ability to be flexible.

All these descriptions could be used to describe how senior tight end Junior Pome’e has helped lead WT football during his time in the program.

History indicates Pome’e is no stranger to change. Originally, a highly regarded tight end recruit to the University of Southern California, also known as USC, Pome’e had gone through numerous moments before eventually finding his way to Canyon. The senior tight end said it’s been a long road but, it all turned out to be a blessing.

“I got into some trouble and USC just didn’t work out,” Pome’e said. “At the time, it was one of the worst thing that happened to me but looking back on the road of my journey. I feel like it was a blessing in disguise. I left USC, played JUCO ball at Riverside Community College at Riverside, CA and then started reaching out to coaches… reaching out to schools here and then coach Keola Loo reached out and summer 2015, I’ve arrived at WT in Canyon, Texas.”

During his time on the team the past season, Pome’e was one of the offensive weapons. Head football coach Hunter Hughes, who is in his first year at the helm, sees potential for Pome’e not only in the offense, but defense as well.

“He’s a heck of an athlete,” Hughes said. “He’s very explosive and played himself into the shape of the defensive line. We’ll have some packages on the offense to put him in when the time comes.”

Tight end has been the position that Pome’e always played. At first, the California native was unsure about the position change, but the position quickly grew on him. The change though has also provided Pome’e a new point of view to his original spot, hoping to use that to his advantage.

“It’s really helped me become more aggressive,” Pome’e said. “After playing on the defensive line in fall camp, getting a couple plays at tight end, I can feel the transition. I know what the defense is trying to do. Now that I’m playing both sides, I have an upper hand because I know what they want to do and how they’re going to do it. Overall, it’s been a great opportunity for me to play defensive line and expand my skill set.”

Hughes saw Pome’e not only come a long way on learning the defensive line but also sees that translating to improvement on the offensive side as well. Hughes said that learning has helped Pome’e become a better leader as well.

“Now that he’s been put in this position, he’s understanding the game a lot better,” Hughes said “From the first time we moved over to now, I think he’s become a leader out there. He’s a guy we can depend on in any situation, and I think he’s grabbed a hold of it. Everybody has kind of looked up to Junior and now I think he has accepted that role.”

Pome’e has been more than pleased to accept his bigger role on the team and is feeling happy to have been given this second chance and to continue his career. WT has been a place to not just chase his NFL dream but has also found a home with a supportive community.”

“I’ve adapted and going into my third year, I fell in love with Canyon.” Pome’e said. “I love how small it is, the support from the community, the campus, the staff the students and even the workers on campus respect and support the football team as they do with the other athletic programs. I feel like it’s been a good transition for me.”