Texas A&M pays tribute to DL

Updated: August 28, 2013, 3:32 PM ET
By Sam Khan Jr. | ESPN.com

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M came up with a unique design to honor its fallen teammate.

The Aggies announced on Tuesday that they will wear a circular decal on their helmets in Saturday's season opener in honor of late defensive lineman Polo Manukainiu, who died in a car accident on July 29.

Manukainiu, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman, was one of three killed in a car accident in northern New Mexico. Incoming Utah freshman defensive tackle Gaius Vaenuku and 13-year-old Andrew Uhatafe were also killed in the accident.

The decal, which will be affixed to the back of the Aggies' helmets when they take the field against Rice on Saturday at Kyle Field, includes Manukainiu's first name, his jersey number (90) and a Tongan-inspired design inset in the jersey number to honor Manukainiu's heritage. The team will wear the decal throughout the season.

"We wanted to come up with a tribute to Polo as a player, but also reflect a bit of his personality as well," Texas A&M equipment manager Matt Watson said. "After talking with several of his friends and family, it was evident how much Polo's Tongan heritage meant to him. After trying to incorporate partial elements of Polo's actual Tongan tribal arm tattoos we came up with this design that hopefully his family, friends, and teammates will deem a fitting and personal reflection to who he was both on and off the playing field."

Sam Khan | email

Texas A&M/SEC reporter

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