The surprise scholarship announcements for walk-on players continues to get better with each passing year.
And while Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has pulled off some great ones over his past 15 seasons, Thursday might have been the best one yet.
With the help of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Utes surprised Ali’i Niumatalolo, son of Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, with a scholarship. The 6-foot-2 junior has appeared in 21 games for the Utes over the past two seasons.
.@AliiNiumatalolo YOU’RE ON SCHOLARSHIP!
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) August 16, 2019
During a team meeting, Whittingham presented his team with a video featuring Coach Niumatalolo and his Navy team wishing the Utes all the best for the upcoming season. Of course, at the very end of the video, Niumatalolo — who did a great job at building the suspense — was able to tell his son that he’s been awarded a scholarship.
In the video, both teams widely celebrated the news in what was a special moment for the Niumatlolo family.
Coach Whittingham told reporters afterwards that Niumatalolo was very deserving of a scholarship because of his team-first mentality, strong work ethic and doing anything he could to help the team win.