Fonoti, a 6-foot-4, 296 pound second year player from Cerritos College, started the last 11 games of the 2011 season and first two games of the 2012 season at right tackle. He took the foot injury hard.
"It was really tough to get injured in a Thursday practice- a light workout gear to clean everything up. It was difficult to accept the fact that I wouldn't be playing in an important game against Notre Dame. I really struggled with it mentally; and had to accept the fact and reality that I might be out (of the lineup) for some time. It hurt because I felt like I let my teammates down."
However, Fonoti wasn't ready to let his senior year of playing for the Spartans pass by. "When I first got injured, I knew that at some point and time I'd have to weight my options. When I made the decision to transfer here from junior college, I thought of it as a two-year investment. I was prepared to deal with being so far away from my family in Southern California. So when this opportunity presented itself, I immediately thought about spending another year away from home, but I continued to pray about it. I talked to my girlfriend and her family as well as my mom and my entire family. We discussed all the options. And as tough as it was, in my heart, I had a straightforward answer, 'I've got to come back.' When I signed that National Letter of Intent (in February 2011), I devoted my everything to being a Spartan, and I haven't fulfilled my expectations yet. I've decided to come back and look forward to competing with these guys again next season. I'm really excited about the 2013 season. I see this injury as a blessing in disguise."
Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell is excited to be able to work with Fonoti next season: "Fou's decision to come back is huge for us in a lot of respects. He's obviously an experienced player, but also provides great leadership. Fou is one of the most well-liked and most-respected guys on the team, so he has a real presence in the locker room. Having him back in the locker room for another year is really going to give the team a boost. It's definitely a plus any time you have a lineman return with over a year of starting experience under his belt. He's battled in the trenches. Fou is a guy you can count on and trust to know what's going on and play a physical brand of football. When you have a veteran like that returning to the lineup, it adds a lot of confidence for the quarterback."
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio is pleased Fonoti will return next season. "Fou Fonoti is one of the emotional leaders for our football team. He's an excitable person that brings a lot of passion to the game. It's a tremendous advantage to have him back for another season, and we're excited about his decision. He'll be able to graduate and enhance his chances to play professional football. Fou can play a variety of positions on the offensive line, so he isn't locked into playing tackle."
Offensive line coach Mark Staten agreed with Dantonio: "Fou's ability to stay an extra year will help us tremendously. He has game experience, a high football IQ, and great leadership ability. Fou has the unique ability to pull the best out of everyone around him. He will help make the 2013 season very special. It's been tough, very tough for Fou to watch the majority of this season from the sidelines. Fortunately he's been able to travel to a few road games. His presence around the team is invaluable. He's been very helpful in meetings as well. Fou can help the younger guys understand why certain things are happening on the defensive line, like adjusting to fronts and blitz packages. He also can help them understand why the double team has to stay on as long as it does or when the timing is right to come off a lineman and take on a linebacker."
The Spartans have had a mediocre season this year without Fonoti, going 5-5. Their final game of the season is November 24th against Minnesota. "(Linebacker) Max Bullough always encourages us to pursue greatness, and we have to develop the attitude that we won't be denied. It's been difficult to watch my teammates go through this grind and all those nail-biting losses, but we remain positive. A lot of teams face adversity during the course of a season, but the important thing is how a team responds. I feel like we have ingredients to have a great team next year. Guys will remember how this season feels and all of the struggles, but we'll be positioned to take a huge step forward," Fonoti said.
If you are are suffering from a sports related foot injury, call our Newington, Kensington, or Middletown office to make an appointment.
Craig M. Kaufman, DPM
Connecticut Foot Care Centers
Sports Podiatrist in CT
Podiatrist in Newington, Kensington, and Middletown, CT
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