Sykes Will Assist Shaun Nua
By Gary Lambrecht
Sophomore nose guard from Windsor, Colo.
Sophomore nose guard from Richmond, Va.
Senior outside linebacker that was born in Nigeria before going to high school in Texas
Shaun Nua is in his fourth season at the Naval Academy assisting Dale Pehrson with the defensive line.
Navy has compiled a record of 25-14 (.641) in Nua’s tenure, beating Army all three times, earning three bowl bids, winning two bowl games and winning two Commander-In-Chief Trophies.
Navy finished the 2014 campaign with an 8-5 record, qualified for a bowl game for the 11th time in the last 12 years, won a bowl game for just the ninth time in school history (beat San Diego State, 17-16, in the Poinsettia Bowl), won a bowl game in back-to-back years for the second time in school history and defeated Army for a series-record 13th consecutive year. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo (57-35, .620) became the all-time winningest coach in school history in 2014, passing George Welsh, when Navy defeated Army for a record 13th-consecutive time. The victory over the Black Knights also made Niumatalolo the first coach in the history of the Army-Navy game to start his coaching career 7-0 against the other Academy.
The Navy defense finished 32nd in pass defense, 37th in interceptions and 38th in the country in red zone defense in 2014.
Junior defensive end Will Anthony was named to the FBS All-Independent team and was named All-East, while senior defensive end Paul Quessenberry was selected to play in the Medal of Honor All-Star game.
Navy finished the 2013 campaign with a 9-4 record, won the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy for the ninth time in the last 11 years, qualified for a bowl game for the 10th time in the last 11 years, won a bowl game for just the eighth time in school history (beat Middle Tennessee, 24-6, in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl) and defeated Army for a series-record 12th consecutive year. The 2013 squad is just the fifth in Navy history to win at least nine games in a season, beat Army and win a bowl game. The 1957, 1978, 2004 and 2009 teams also achieved that feat.
The Navy defense held eight of its 13 opponents below their scoring average for the season. Navy opponents averaged 29.9 points on the year, but just 24.4 points against the Mids. They finished 27th in the country in red zone defense and 40th in scoring defense and pass defense.
Nua helped lead Navy to an 8-5 record in 2012 and a berth in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. Navy defeated Air Force, 28-21, in overtime and Army, 17-13, to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy.
The win over Army marked Navy’s 11th consecutive victory over its biggest rivals. Other big wins for Navy in 2012 included a come-from-behind 31-30 victory over Indiana and wins over bowl bound East Carolina (56-28) and Central Michigan (31-13).
Nua came to the Naval Academy from Brigham Young, where he assisted for three seasons. He is a 2005 graduate of BYU where he received his bachelor’s degree and is currently pursuing his graduate degree.
Over his final two seasons in Provo, Nua helped the Cougars achieve the nation’s 24th-best total defense in 2010 and the 13th-ranked defense in 2011. BYU won its bowl games both years while finishing the 2011 season ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches Poll with a 10-3 record.
As a player, Nua was a 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive end at BYU from 2002-04 before being drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nua played four years in the NFL, three seasons with Pittsburgh and one in Buffalo, including a winning trip to the Super Bowl with the Steelers his rookie year in 2006.
Nua earned Second-Team All-Mountain West Conference honors as a senior. He played in all 23 games of his BYU career, appearing in 12 games his junior season in 2002 and 11 games as a senior in 2004 (redshirted in 2003 due to an injury). He totaled 54 tackles in his two seasons, including 10 sacks and 16 tackles for loss.
Born on May 22, 1981, Nua is a native of Pago Pago, American Samoa. He transferred to BYU from Eastern Arizona Junior College, where he earned Junior College All-America honors. He prepped at Tafuna High School in Tafuna, American Samoa.