Puka Nacua is in a locker room full of inspirations for younger football talents. After all, the Los Angeles Rams have prized veterans Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Matthew Stafford walking around the facility.
Who Is Puka Nacua’s Father? Did He Play Football?
But his first inspiration?
The one who believed he would be the best among six kids: His father.
Nacua is the son of Lionel Nacua, plus was the fifth of six children from Lionel and Nacua’s mother Penina.
He was also one of Nacua’s first football coaches as a youth.
Per the Deseret News, Lionel Nacua got a young Puka to break down film and choose that over watching SpongeBob SquarePants. He would even watch college football games on television with his father and older brothers.
Lionel Nacua bounced between father figure and coach for the future Rams receiver and his brothers. The family also had a fandom for Brigham Young football, as the father hoped his boys would become a Cougar one day.
Lionel Nacua, unexpectedly, died in May 2012 at the age of 45 due to complications of diabetes. But sure enough, Kai and Isaiah went on to verbally commit to BYU after his death.
Did Nacua Also Follow His Brothers to BYU?
Ultimately, Nacua became a revered BYU Cougar. But it didn’t start out that way.
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Nacua first went on his college football journey to the Seattle area, as he had originally planned to attend USC.
However, he signed his national letter of intent to play for the University of Washington.
He ended up starting in three games in 2019 while seeing action in eight games. He then played in three more games during the truncated 2020 season due to COVID-19.
Nonetheless, he ended up heading back to his dad’s favorite university in 2021 where he went on to establish himself as a future NFL wide receiver. He ended up leading BYU in receiving yards in both seasons.
And at BYU, Nacua had a touchdown celebration that began with his brothers — he would always point to the sky to honor their deceased father.