|Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports|
|Micah Seau made 10 tackles in 11 games as a backup last season for San Diego State.|
Another Seau will be patrolling the field at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium this weekend.
Micah Seau, the nephew of late NFL great Junior Seau, will make his first career start for San Diego State on Saturday night, when the Aztecs play host to FCS opponent Northern Arizona.
Seau (6-foot-3, 260 pounds), a sophomore, wears No. 55 -- the number his uncle made famous as a star linebacker at USC and in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers. Junior Seau becomes eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015 and is seen as a likely first-ballot inductee.
Seau signed with San Diego State in 2011 as a 230-pounder, but didn't enroll until 2012; he sat out that season as a redshirt, then played in 11 games as a backup last season. He was expected to be a reserve again this fall, but solid play in camp coupled with some injuries have made him a starter.
The Aztecs run a 3-3-5 set, and Seau will start at one of the outside spots.
"He's been getting better," SDSU linebacker coach Zach Arnett told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "We're just fine-tuning it and getting it done the way we want it done. ... Micah is going to get better, and he's been forced to step up for us."
Arnett acknowledges the pressure Seau is facing.
"His last name is Seau and there's so much legacy that goes with that name," he said.
For his part, Seau is both embracing and trying to distance himself from the Seau name.
"What my uncle did was amazing, and what he stood for around here -- he's just a legend," he told the Union-Tribune. "But as far as me, I'm just playing football. It's something I love doing. It's something I grew up doing."
Seau is considered a physical 'backer, not surprising given his size. Coaches also like his football IQ. Now he needs to continue to show that on the field.
San Diego State is expected to be a contender for the Mountain West Conference West Division title. Coach Rocky Long's hybrid defense generally is stout, though there are issues in the secondary this season. While Seau and the Aztecs likely won't be tested all that much this weekend, that changes in the next two weeks, with games at North Carolina, then Oregon State.
Another Seau nephew, Ian Seau, is scheduled to start at defensive end for Nevada on Saturday against FCS opponent Southern Utah. Ian, a junior at Nevada, is Micah's cousin; he played for the Wolf Pack when it lost at San Diego State last season.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.