Rebel Football Signs Four Midyear Transfers
Dec. 20, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck announced Thursday the signing of four midyear junior-college transfers, all of whom will enroll at the school in January and go through spring practice with the Rebels starting March 4.
Signing national letters of intent and eligible to play for UNLV in 2013 are offensive lineman C.J. Backlund, wide receiver Jack Killian, defensive lineman Asten Koki (pronounced "As-tin COKE-ee), and defensive lineman Sieua Vaesau (pronounced "SEE-u-a VAH-ah-sow").
"Midyear JC players are hard to come by and all of these guys are solid students," Hauck said. "It's a huge benefit to being able to have these guys in the off-season conditioning program and then coaching them in spring ball, so we are excited."
Backlund (6-4, 265, JR-TR) is the second player out of Helsinki, Finland, to join the Rebels in as many years as Max Ehlert played linebacker at UNLV in 2012 and will be a senior next fall. Like Ehlert, Backlund played for Chabot College, which is located in Hayward, Calif. Backlund, who was a unanimous choice for First Team All-Golden Gate Conference in both 2011 and 2012, helped the Gladiators tie for first place in the league last season under head coach Danny Calcagno.
"C.J. will come in and provide immediate depth for the interior of our offensive line," Hauck said. "We expect him to challenge for a starting spot at either guard or center next year."
Killian (6-0, 195, JR-TR) graduated from Central Catholic High School in Modesto, Calif., before playing two seasons at San Joaquin Delta College located in Stockton, Calif. Last year he caught 55 passes for 992 yards and 14 touchdowns for head coach Gary Barlow's Mustangs. Killian led the Northern California Football Association Valley Conference in league play with seven scores.
"Jack is a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball and will give us another reliable veteran target to throw the football to," Hauck said.
Koki (6-3, 255, JR-TR) is a native of Pearl City, Hawaii, and graduate of Honolulu's Roosevelt High School. He then spent two seasons playing for Mt. San Antonio College located in Walnut, Calif. Last year he totaled 22 tackles, including 4.5 tackles-for-loss for the Mounties under head coach Bob Jastrab.
"Koki gives us another defensive lineman on the inside and improves our numbers at a position we've been thin at, which is important," Hauck said.
Vaesau (6-3, 250) is a graduate of Pinole Valley High School in Pinole, Calif., which is the same program that produced former Rebel defensive back and all-conference kick returner Deante' Purvis (2008-11). Vaesau played both on the defensive line and at linebacker at Diablo Valley College under head coach Mike Darr. He recorded 36 total tackles, including 6.5 quarterback sacks, for the Vikings as a sophomore last fall.
"Sieua is a big, athletic defensive player with unlimited potential," Hauck said. "We see him moving from a big linebacker on the JC level to being a big part of our defensive line."