Identify Illinois Spotlight

Identify Illinois is the DIA-branch of Inclusive Illinois, an organization dedicated to the University's commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Through education, engagement, and excellence, each voice creates the Inclusive Illinois Experience.

Joe Fotu  Football

Year: Junior

Hometown: Kingdom of Tonga, a small island in the south Pacific by Fiji and Samoa

 Has three brothers and two sisters
 Enrolled at Illinois in January 2014
 Full name is Siosifa Fotu
 No. 11-ranked JUCO defensive end in the nation in 2013
 Majoring in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism
 Wants to be a firefighter


Q: What made you decide to commit to Illinois?

A: There were many reasons why I committed to Illinois. Honestly, just being different and being the first Tongan to come here to the University of Illinois football program was a lot of it. The guys on the team were also great when I was on my official visit. Another big reason was that I will get to compete at the highest-level athletically and get a really good education here at a Big Ten institution.

Q: What is you favorite "Illini moment," to this point?

A: I have only been here since January, but my favorite Illini moment, so far, was running out of the tunnel on my first game here this fall against Youngstown State. There was smoke everywhere, and I felt like a star.

Q: What are your goals for this season?

A: My goal for this season is to make every play count and not to waste a snap. I also want to be Academic All-Big Ten.

Q: You recently went viral with the "Haka" dance at practice. What is the history of the dance?

A: The Haka is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Maori people of New Zealand. It is used to hype up a group of people or a team before they compete. The Haka is performed a lot in Rugby and is slowly getting popular in football.

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