Mark Nabou’s journey from Fiji farms to Kyle Field
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - “I play o-line,” said Nabou. “You gotta have a strong family with the o-line to be a unit. Being Poly, it definitely brings out some characteristics to the o-line.”
Playing on a football team is a brotherhood, being on the offensive line means family.
Mark Nabou plays guard and center for the Aggies. He credits his work ethic and family values to his culture.
“The Polynesian culture, they’re heavily based on family and the connection between, you know, their family and all that,” exclaimed Nabou. “I think that’s what makes us Polynesian strong people.”
Mark was born in Seattle, Washington, where his mom, Lisa, was finishing up school and getting settled in the United States.
She sent him to grow up in her home on the island of Fiji, a thousand miles closer to Australia than even Hawaii, and a world away from Seattle.
“Sending him back home where he can have a stable environment was the best decision,” said Mark’s mom, Lisa Ravulovulo
Mark would spend about the next 8 years with his aunt and uncle before returning to Seattle.
“They had like land in Fiji so I used to just stay home and just I guess you could say I was a farm boy pretty much,” said Nabou. “That’s, that’s all I get called now in the locker room is a farm boy. I used to like plant vegetables, feed the pigs and do all that. Cut the grass and that’s that’s how it is in Fiji.”
Mark’s journey to the gridiron was not as conventional as his peers, it was his mom’s idea.
“I had no idea what football was all about,” said Ravulovulo. “Before he came back I saw those banners along the street, that says ‘football camp,’ and I signed him up.”
Little did they know what would come of it.
“I didn’t even know he was that good, to be honest, I just thought he was having so much fun,” said Ravulovulo.
Nabou was rated as a 3-star recruit by all three major outlets. As a senior, he helped lead the Fighting Irish of O’Shea High School to an 8-3 record and the second round of the Washington State Playoffs.
“I didn’t really know anything about football until I guess you can see my freshman year and high school. I was just I was getting noticed by 247. I just, I just realized I was pretty good at football. I had talent to go to Division one.”
That work ethic Mark developed in the South Pacific impressed former Head Coach Jimbo Fisher.
“He is athletic, long, big and a smart guy,” exclaimed Fisher. “To play three positions and play center and make the calls, very intelligent and very gifted guy.”
Now in their newly purchased home in Aggieland, Lisa knows the game they knew nothing about has changed their life.
“It has changed our life in so many ways. It has validated him as a young man that he could be something,” said his mom. “Mark is a survivor. He has gone through so much in his life at a very young age and for him to be in this space. To be in college at a great university and play football at the same time, it’s just a blessing.”
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