College Station, TX (Sports Network) - Texas A&M redshirt freshman Polo
Manukainiu and incoming Utah recruit Gaius Vaenuku were among three passengers
killed in a one-car accident in New Mexico on Monday.
Texas A&M has confirmed the death of the 19-year-old Manukainiu, a native of
Euless, TX who was a reserve defensive lineman for the Aggies. Vaenuku, 18,
was Manukainiu's former teammate at Trinity High School and was set to join
the Utes' program this summer.
"We lost a terrific young man," Texas A&M head football coach Kevin Sumlin
said of Manukainiu. "Polo was loved by his teammates and coaches. Anyone who
came in contact with him was struck by his sense of humor and smile. My heart
aches for his mom and family members."
A report from the New Mexico State Police stated that both Manukainiu and
Vaenuku were two of five people traveling south on U.S. Highway 550 in
Sandoval County in a 2002 Toyota Sequoia that drifted off the roadway and
rolled several times. Manukainiu and another passenger, Andrew Uhatafe, were
each ejected from the vehicle and died instantly. Vaenuku was transported from
the scene in an ambulance but was pronounced dead on arrival to San Juan
Both the car's driver and another passenger sustained minor injuries. Police
said alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
Aggies quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel also
offered his condolences to Manukainiu's family via Twitter on Tuesday.
"Heart hurts waking up to news about Polo. I think I speak for everyone on our
team when I say we love you brother you will be missed," Manziel tweeted.
The Sports Network