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Atunaisa Mahe - BYU Football
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Next Khyiris Tonga? BYU Nose Tackle Atunaisa Mahe Coming Back From Injury In 2021

BYU nose tackle Atunaisa Mahe during a game against the San Diego State Aztecs in 2019. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – Now that Khyiris Tonga is on to the NFL, who will be the player that replaces him at nose tackle? A player to keep an eye out for is redshirt sophomore Atunaisa Mahe.

Mahe, a native of West Jordan, was out due to injury in the entire 2020 season. He announced via his personal Instagram page that he is excited to continue to do what he loves, and that’s playing the game of football.


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A post shared by Naisa Militoni Mahe (@naisa.mahe)

“It was a rough year for us all I’m sure. But trusting God and having faith that his plan, with whatever trials and hardships that come along the way, will be worth the wait is what really matters,” wrote Mahe. “I was out on injury last season, but I’m excited for this new year and for the blessing to continue to do what I love. #ripdad #foryou #seeyouagain.”

Atunaisa Mahe career snapshot

The 6-foot-1, 302-pound Mahe started in two games at nose tackle in 2019 and played in all 13. He was the primary backup to Khyiris Tonga that season. Mahe had 22 total tackles with 14 solo stops and posted three tackles for loss and two sacks.

He created significant pressure up front against the likes of Tennessee and San Diego State. Against the Aztecs in 2019, he had a career-high five tackles.

Mahe will compete with Caden Haws, who was Tonga’s primary backup in 2020. Haws switched from offensive lineman to nose tackle and has found a permanent home at that spot.

Coming out of West Jordan High School, Mahe was a talented powerlifter and was coming into his own as a football player during his prep career. He committed to Bronco Mendenhall’s staff in 2015, and Kalani Sitake kept his commitment when he took over as head coach.

BYU is scheduled to open up the 2021 season on September 2nd in Las Vegas against the Arizona Wildcats from the Pac-12 Conference.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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