Alualu's faith rewarded as 10th pick in NFL draft
• Photo gallery: Tyson Alualu 10th overall in NFL Draft
By Curtis Murayama
Advertiser Sports Editor
A miracle happened yesterday at 1485 A Linapuni St. at Kūhiō Park Terrace.
Tyson Alualu, a Saint Louis School product from Kalihi with strong spiritual beliefs, was selected in the first round of the NFL draft in a stunning development that will be a watershed moment in his young life and make him a multimillionaire.
The 22-year-old who played defensive end at the University of California was picked by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 10th player taken overall and among the highest ever for a player from Hawai'i.
"I was sitting down in front of the TV. I didn't know Jacksonville was the next pick," said Alualu, a 6 feet, 2ﬁ-inch, 298-pounder who expected to be selected in the late first- to middle-second round ranging from picks 30 to 45.
"I just got a call from the 904 area code. I didn't think they were picking me up at the time. I thought I was just talking to a scout. He just told me not to hang up. ...
"I ended up being the 10th pick. All the glory to God. I couldn't have done without him. Unexpected, but praise God for that."
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced his selection on the nationally telecast draft show on ESPN, Alualu said the gathering of hundreds of family, friends and church members at the Solid Rock Fellowship Assembly of God in Kalihi burst into an ear-piercing cheer.
"Everybody just went crazy ... horns were going off," he said.
"For me, (it was) tears of joy, being able to live my dream ... playing in the NFL ... and getting picked that high ... words can't express how I feel."
Alualu's wife and mother of their two children, Desir , said she was "overcome." Her eyes welled as she explained her emotions.
"(I'm) so proud of him because of the journey that he's taken, the journey that we've taken together. We know how hard it's been," she said.
"You reap what you sow and this is our harvest time."
Such a high selection is worth millions, an amount that surprised Alualu.
Last year, the 11th pick in the first round (the 10th pick, Michael Crabtree, was a holdout) received a five-year, $25 million deal with $15 million guaranteed.
"Really?" Alualu said. "I definitely gotta give back to the community, give back to my parents, all the struggles they been through to get me to this point. Definitely gotta give back to my family and my church.
"I'll leave it in God's hands to give me the wisdom to spend accordingly."
Alualu's father, Ta'avao, who had spent time in prison before transforming his life and becoming pastor of the church, knew this day was coming. In fact, he predicted it.
When he arrived at the church yesterday, he said, "Lord, wherever you put my son, I'll praise you."
Then he wrote in his bloated day planner:
"For Tyson, God is doing it today. All the glory to our Heavenly Father."
Below that he wrote, 1 to 15 — his prediction that Tyson would be picked somewhere in between.
"When he got called for No. 10. I felt that strength from inside me, tell me it's happening and it's from God," he said.
"What he's just done today is another miracle for my life."
Added Tyson Alualu: "It was unexpected, but I definitely pointed up (to the Lord, as he does after every big play he makes on the football field) because in my heart — everybody said I would be late in the first (round), even myself, I came undressed (in black T-shirt and shorts).
"He made me No. 10 in the first round and that's just a blessing. That was my first reaction — praise the Lord and giving him the glory."
Alualu will now be going to a franchise that has a history of failed selections at defensive ends — Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves were picked in the first two rounds in 2008 but have been busts — and an area that craved for the selection of Florida icon Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback.
"I don't know about the history," said Alualu, who was told he would have to report April 30 for mini-camp.
"With God, I can do all things. He definitely will guide me through."