College football games are won and lost in the trenches. When you’re a college football program looking to assert yourself defensively, it certainly helps to have a player with experience on both sides of the line, with a background in using your hands and feet to beat your opponent into submission.
As they establish themselves as one of the best program’s in the country, the Washington Huskies have such a player up their sleeve. Meet Ulumoo Ale, the strong-handed, fighting heart of the Washington defensive front.
Who is Ulumoo Ale? Meet the Fighting Heart of the Washington Defensive Front
Check the Washington roster page for defensive tackle Ale, and you’ll find the basic details.
In fact, scroll down to the bottom of this page, and you’ll find the same information without even expanding the energy or utilizing your Internet bandwidth. Ale is #68, a senior defensive lineman for the Washington Huskies, the current frontrunner in Pac-12 football ahead of Week 7.
Yet, Ale is more than those basic details. Furthermore, his journey to being the starting nose tackle for the Huskies is far more interesting and complicated than you could begin to imagine. As he gets set to help Washington win the biggest fight of their season to date, Ale is the secret weapon who knows a thing or two about landing the knockout blow in a title bout.
It says Tacoma, Washington, in the line next to “hometown” in Ale’s player profile, and sure, that’s where he grew into a college football player and Power Five recruit. However, the Washington defensive tackle was born in Samoa and moved to Australia at the age of four, following his father — a pastor by the same first name — around the country.
Like all kids growing up, Ale needed to find something to occupy his time. A lover of sports that has seen him play rugby, throw discus, and shot put before pulling on the pads and cleats as a high school football player, the Washington defensive tackle occupied his time — and his hands — in a different sport. Boxing.
“The gym wasn’t that far,” Ale told The Seattle Times in 2022, when asked about his introduction to the sport. “So, I just went and hung out there.”
That might sound like an odd choice of pastime for a kid when offered without context, another family connection eased Ale’s assault on the sport of boxing. While he followed his father to Australia, his brother’s middleweight footsteps into a Melbourne club formed the path that Ulumoo would follow into the ring.
“I was 9 or 10, and some coaches noticed I was hitting my brother pretty hard,” Ale told The News Tribune of his journey into the world of boxing. “So I started getting coaching.”
That pursuit of a pastime and the ensuing coaching turned into something spectacular. Ale channeled his sheer size and hand strength into a boxing behemoth. In the space of three years, he won three Golden Gloves heavyweight boxing championships.
Ten years later, and whole continents away, Ale has put his boxing days behind him. He originally hung up his gloves to focus on playing rugby, thriving in a team sport environment rather than the solitary pursuit of perfection in the ring.
However, when his father’s job took the family across the world to Washington — and after a dalliance with track and field sports at Fife High School — he found the ultimate team sport in American football.
Swapping gloves for the gridiron, Ale has never looked back, picking up Power Five offers a plenty despite playing just two seasons of high school football.
While he leaves boxing behind, the skills of the sport are easily translatable and transferable to his role on the football field.
That role has been as complicated as his journey from Australia to Washington. A three-star recruit coming out of Fife, Ale was viewed as the 86th offensive tackle in the 2018 recruiting class. He spent the first four years as an offensive lineman for the Huskies, starting six games at left guard in 2021 — setting up a full-time starting gig for 2022.
Yet, the new coaching staff under Kalen DeBoer saw something different in Ale’s future. They saw a defensive game wrecker, a gargantuan plug at the heart of the front that would allow the Huskies’ talented pass rushers to go to work with ruthless efficiency and dangerous resolve.
To successfully make the transition across the trenches work, Ale has had to make sacrifices. He’s given tears, blood, and sweat — quite literally the latter — to shed weight and reshape his body. The former heavyweight boxer has lost almost 40 pounds in two years. He’s now a lean, mean, offense-killing machine, set for a pivotal role in Washington’s bit for a title.
While his heavyweight boxing career is firmly in the past, those translatable skills we talked about earlier are very much a part of his present. Strong but quick hands, subtle footwork, leverage manipulation, they’re the tools of both trades. Combined with his understanding of offensive line play, Ale is poised and in position to land the knockout blow in the heavyweight clash of the year.
Ale Player Profile
- Height: 6’6″
- Weight: 327
- Number: 68
- Class: Senior
- Hometown: Tacoma, Washington
- High School: Fife
Ale Player Career Stats
- Appearances: 45
- Tackles: 18
- Tackles For Loss: 2
- Sacks: 0
- Passes Defended: 0