Valley News -

By Jeff Pack

Heritage High's Takitaki chosen by Browns in NFL draft


Last updated 4/27/2019 at 10:51am

Courtesy of Brigham Young University

Brigham Young's Sione Takitaki was selected with the 80th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. Takitaki was a standout fullback and linebacker for Heritage High School.

Former Heritage High School football standout and Brigham Young University linebacker Sione Takitaki was chosen by the Cleveland Browns with the 17th pick of the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee on Friday, April 26.

"With our pick in the third round, we picked Sione Takitaki, linebacker from BYU – a really physical exciting player," said Browns General Manager Eliot Wolf in an interview with "Plays super hard every play. He can run, can cover and can blitz. He played defensive end last year so he has some pass rush to him. We are really excited and fortunate to get him here with this pick."

As a Cougar, Takitaki finished his collegiate career with 241 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks. He was BYU's top tackler in 2018, ranking 31st in the nation with 118 tackles.

Takitaki was invited after the season to participate in the Reese's Senior Bowl and East-West Shrine game, where he turned a lot of heads.

"I am very excited for Sione," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake told "He will fit perfectly with his talents in Cleveland with a really good coaching staff. Sione is a versatile athlete and really took advantage of his experience playing three different positions for us. He will just continue to get better."

A native of Fontana, Takitaki moved in with Heritage High School assistant coach Petelo Hifo prior to his sophomore year. His relationship with the Hifo family has extended to BYU where he was reunited with former teammate and wide receiver Aleva Hifo.

During his time at Heritage, Takitaki was named All-CIF Southern Section Central Division and Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Patriots to a 13-1 record as a senior.

In his high school career, he totaled 193 tackles (162 solo tackles), 21.5 sacks and 42.5 tackles for loss. As a fullback, he averaged more than 7 yards per carry, running for 1,673 yards and 25 touchdowns.

He was rated a three-star prospect by,,, and, the No. 24 inside linebacker in the nation and No. 49 overall prospect from California by

He was recruited by Arizona, Boise State, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah, Washington State, and Wisconsin before choosing BYU.

Jeff Pack can be contacted at [email protected]


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