Washington's Third Tuiasosopo Wants to Leave His Mark, Too

Dec. 23, 2001

SEATTLE - Zach Tuiasosopo chose Washington because his big brother Marques did. Marques Tuiasosopo became a Husky because his older sister Leslie did.

Marques and Leslie have completed successful sports careers at Washington.

Now, it's Zach's turn, and he's looking to follow his brother again and play in the NFL.

'My sister came and did her own thing and moved on,' he said. 'My brother came here and did his thing and moved on. Now, I'm here trying to keep it going.'

Marques is a backup quarterback for the Oakland Raiders after leading the Huskies to a Rose Bowl victory last season. Zach, a linebacker, gets his chance to make an impact in a postseason game when the No. 21 Huskies (8-3) play No. 9 Texas (10-2) in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 28.

'I'm definitely proud and excited for him,' Marques said. 'He'll be able to experience everything I did in college, and our father at UCLA. I hope he enjoys it and ultimately wins the game.'

Their father, Manu, was an NFL defensive lineman for Seattle and San Francisco after playing for the Bruins.

'My choice came down to Washington and UCLA,' Marques said. 'It definitely helped that my sister was at Washington and they were the No. 1 or 2 team in the country at the time. Having my sister there was comforting.'

Leslie made her mark on the volleyball court, starting for the Huskies from 1995-98 as a standout blocker. She was a Pac-10 first team selection as a junior, and ranks in the career top-10 in six categories at the school. She went on to play professionally in Spain.

When Zach arrived last fall, he expected to take the field with his brother. He wasn't prepared to hear the word 'redshirt.'

He had been waiting for the chance to play with Marques in college. They are close friends and grew up sharing a room. Sometimes, they would fall asleep arguing about football.

The two couldn't be much more different, coach Rick Neuheisel said.

'The only thing the same is their last name,' Neuheisel said. 'Zach is a more playful guy, social. Marques is focused and serious. Zach is still early in his career and I hope he will blossom into a great player for us. Marques' career is well-documented.'

Zach's first year turned out better than he thought. He still got to go to the Rose Bowl, watching as Marques led Washington over Purdue on the way to being named MVP. The Huskies finished with a No. 3 national ranking.

While on the scout team defense, Zach - who's 6-foot-2 and 235 pounds, compared with Marques at 6-1 and 220 - lined up across from his brother in practice and knocked him down a few times.

'To have that opportunity to play together was a big reason he went to Washington,' Marques said. 'It was always our choice to go to Washington. Our family is tight and the opportunity to be close to home and play Division I football was great.'

Zach insists he doesn't feel pressure to succeed like his siblings. He just expects it to happen. Redshirting last fall turned out to be one of the best things he's done.

'It was one of my dreams to play with my brother and I got that opportunity whether I redshirted or not,' he said.

He has started four games this season, making 41 tackles with a sack, a pass deflection and two forced fumbles. In his first start against USC when junior Kai Ellis was injured, he had a career-best nine tackles.

Growing up, he and his brother played football in the street and in the yard. Now, Marques calls Zach once or twice a week to catch up.

'I try not to give him too much advice,' Marques said. 'I just try to help him out. I want to be his friend as much as his brother. He'll ask questions and I'll answer them.'

They have learned a lot from each other.

'I've always looked up to him as a role model for the way I'd like to be when I'm older,' Zach says. 'In football, in school, in how he carries himself.'

Although Neuheisel says the brothers are different, some of Zach's teammates can see similarities.

'Zach, he has it,' nose tackle Larry Tripplett said. 'I don't know what it is or how those kids were raised, but they have that winning attitude and drive. When he's next to me, I can see it in his eyes. With the offensive guys, they said they could see it in Marques' eyes. I can see the same thing in Zach.'

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer

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