Puka Nacua is a name you have surely heard quite a few times over the past two weeks. After being selected in the fifth round with the 177th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, he became the 20th wide receiver taken off the board.
With low expectations, especially in a Los Angeles Rams offense with guys like Cooper Kupp, Nacua has burst onto the scene and has even set a record for most catches for a rookie through two games.
However, the 25 receptions and 266 yards aside, Nacua has impressed due to his immediate connection with quarterback Matthew Stafford and his general evasiveness. Head coach Sean McVay has had nothing but good things to say about the young WR, telling ESPN, “The game makes sense to him. Physically and mentally tough. Works really hard. He’s very inquisitive.”
With his name being said so often on broadcasts, there have been a number of different pronunciations that we have heard. Nacua’s name is definitely unique, so how exactly should it be pronounced?
How Do You Pronounce Puka Nacua’s Name?
Luckily, we do not need to go far to figure out how to pronounce Nacua’s name. Not only is there a helpful video below, but Nacua himself has shared how it should be said.
What Is Nacua’s Real Name?
So, is Puka his real name?
No, the Rams WR’s first name is not Puka. It’s actually Makea. He earned the “Puka” nickname when he was younger.
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“In Samoan, it means fat and chubby,” Nacua said in a 2019 interview with Hawaii Prep World. “It’s from when I was a baby, and it kind of stuck. Going up through school, everybody knows me as Puka even though I slimmed out.”
Where Did Nacua Play College Football?
Nacua started his college football career with the Washington Huskies in 2019 and 2020. He had 16 receptions and three touchdowns in 11 games with the Huskies.
He then transferred to the BYU Cougars and played two seasons with them. In 21 games, he had 91 catches for 1,430 yards, with 11 receiving and five rushing touchdowns.
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told ESPN, “I thought that he would be a great pro, and I thought that everybody that passed on him would regret it.”