Video Bobcat Spotlight: Ohio football's Cleon Aloese
A college football team's ability to recruit anywhere goes hand in hand with the success a team has on the field.
In 2012, the Ohio University football team had plenty of success on the field as it opened the year 7-0, cracked into the Top 25 rankings and captured their second-consecutive bowl victory. The result of that success was the addition of Cleon Aloese.
On February 6, 2013, Aloese inked a National Letter of Intent to play college football for Ohio University. The addition of the 6 foot, 296 pound a defensive lineman from Tafuna High School in Pago Pago, American Samoa proved the Bobcats could recruit anywhere.
American Samoa is a small territory located in the South Pacific Ocean, made up of five main islands, surrounded by beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. American Samoa has just under 57,000 people, with its capital city Pago Pago having just over 4,100 people.
In size, American Samoa has a total land area of 76.1 square miles which is just above the size of Washington D.C., and far less than that Athens County, Ohio, which comes in at 508.44 square miles.
Despite its very small size, American Samoa has a rich football culture. It has been estimated that a Samoan male is anywhere from 40 to 56 times more likely to play in the NFL than a non-Samoan American. Professionally, there are about 30 players with Samoan decent currently playing in the NFL, most of which are from American Samoa.
In addition to that, there are more than 200 Samoans playing NCAA Division I football. Aloese was recruited by defensive line coach Jesse Williams, who joined the Bobcats' staff prior to the 2012 season.
"Cleon is a very tough, physical player who always works hard and has great discipline," Williams said. "He is a very likeable guy and a joy to coach every day."
Aloese, a member of the All-Polynesian All-American Team during his senior year at Tafuna said that Ohio University was a fit for him for many different reasons.
"Not only is the team very good, with a lot of talent coming back this year, but I plan to study communications, and Ohio has an excellent program," Aloese said. "I also loved the campus when I visited and I have family in the Dayton area. Ohio was the perfect fit for me."