By Monica Lee
Leaving his mark on Montlake, Princeton Fuimaono just wants to leave a winner.
The last few games haven’t been ideal for the Huskies, but senior linebacker Fuimaono hasn’t lost confidence in his team.
“We’ve been down in the last games,” Fuimaono said, “So we just have to pick it back up. We just have got to have the mentality of coming out and being the best team.
“We just need to be confident, period, no matter what.”
As a true freshman in 2010, Fuimaono played in all 13 games including the first bowl game the Dawgs had participated in since the 2002 Sun Bowl against Purdue. He was one of eight true freshmen to start at least one game and recorded 12 tackles during the season.
The linebacker earned a starting spot as a sophomore starting all 13 games and notching more than five times the number of tackles. With 64 total tackles on the season, Fuimaono established himself as a true defensive force. His performance in the 2011 Apple Cup with four tackles for loss ranks 11th in the Husky record book for most in a game. He was finished third in overall tackles behind former linebacker Cort Dennison and current co-captain Sean Parker.
In 2012, Fuimaono saw significantly less playing time, sharing his starting spot with Travis Feeney and Thomas Tutogi. That was just a learning experience for him though.
“We all face adversity in personal life and here,” Fuimaono said. “Here, there’s a lot of adversity for us. Going up and down throughout the whole season – throughout my four seasons here.
“Facing those problems and those speed bumps was a big thing, but I overcame (them).”
Fuimaono has conquered adversity with his teammates to become UW’s leading tackler in his senior season.
“I used to be the person who would be down,” he said. “I used to get down on myself, but just facing adversity and going at it and stick it through whatever we got, especially with the football players, my brothers, we’ve faced a lot and we’ll all come out together.”
More confident than ever, Fuimaono reestablished himself as part of the linebacker core this season. Earning his starting position back, he has notched 62 tackles through 10 games.
Washington’s leader in tackles is less focused on his statistics and more on helping improve his team.
“I just want to be remembered for being a great linebacker and helping out the team,” Fuimaono said of how he wants to leave the program.
“The little pups,” he said with a laugh, “they look up to me and I just have to come out and give them my all. Hopefully (they can) become better than I was.
Hopefully for Fuimaono he becomes a “little pup” in the NFL after graduation.
“I plan on giving it a shot,” Fuimaono said. “And if that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably give back to the community any way I could. Back home in Long Beach, I could give back to the kids.”
But first, in the last games of his Husky career, Fuimaono plans to leave with no regrets.
“It’s my last year so I have go to do everything,” he said. “I have got to give everything.
“I came here to become a winner and a champion and that’s what I’m trying to leave as.”