State Defensive Player of Year: Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa

It’s the second straight St. John Bosco linebacker who is getting state’s top defensive honor, this time for the 2023 season. Viliamu-Asa also is the fourth in a row from the Trinity League.

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There were a lot of possibilities for player of the year candidates coming from 2022 State Team of the Year and national champion St. John Bosco of Bellflower and one of them was junior Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa, who was the one of the top two leading tacklers on defense. In the end, senior Deven Bryant was the one who was State Defensive Player of the Year and Long Beach Press-Telegram Player of the Year.

Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa had one of his best outings when St. John Bosco blanked eventual CIF Open Division state champ Mater Dei during the regular season. Photo: Mark Tennis.

This season, the Braves were runner-up in the State Team of the Year chase to league rival Mater Dei of Santa Ana with a win over the Monarchs in the regular season but a loss in the CIF Southern Section D1 championship. There was not nearly as much flexibility this time, though, about Bosco’s top player of the year candidate. It was Viliamu-Asa, who led the defense in tackles and has been one of the top recruits nationally. He’s therefore the second straight State Defensive Player of the Year from the school following Bryant from last season.

Kyngstonn already has collected several prestigious honors. He matched Bryant by being selected as the Press-Telegram Player of the Year. He also gained the Player of the Year selection from the Los Angeles Times (including offensive players). Then at the All-American Bowl last week in San Antonio, Viliamu-Asa was one of five national Defensive Player of the Year finalists.

Known for his versatility to attack the gaps of the opponent’s offensive line on run plays or go sideline to sideline on passing plays, Kyngstonn racked up 114 tackles this season, including 13 for loss. The five star-rated standout also had 1.5 sacks and one interception return for a score. This season, head coach Jason Negro and offensive coordinator Steven Lo also utilized Viliamu-Asa in goal-line situations. That’s why the only TD the Braves scored in their loss to Mater Dei came on a touchdown catch by Kyngstonn. He had two other TD catches on offense during the season.

All of the junior and senior season accolades that Kyngstonn has been able to achieve came after he had to come back from a serious knee injury. He suffered that injury playing as a freshman on the varsity for the Braves during the short 2021 spring season that replaced the full fall 2020 season due to the pandemic. With such a limited amount of time between the spring 2021 season and the fall of 2021, Viliamu-Asa had to miss all of it. He came back ready to go, however, by the start of his junior season.

“I think when I had my (ACL) injury I had my doubts whether I would get back to who I was before that,” Viliamu-Asa told the Press-Telegram. “Whether I was going to be able to play the game again, but I had a great support system around me that encouraged me, supported me and ultimately helped me get back to where I am.”

Where he will be as a player after St. John Bosco will be Notre Dame. Kyngstonn hopes to get meaningful minutes next season for the Fighting Irish. Combined with his 4.0 GPA and his leadership attributes, there’s not much doubt among many who’ve seen him play that early playing time in college is going to happen.


2023 — Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) LB
2022 — Deven Bryant (St. John Bosco, Bellflower) LB
2021 — David Bailey (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) LB
2020 — Raesjon Davis (Mater Dei, Santa Ana) LB*
2019 — Justin Flowe (Upland) LB
2018 — Henry To’oto’o (De La Salle, Concord) LB
2017 — Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oaks Christian, Westlake Village) DL (Jr.)
2016 — Jaelen Phillips
(Redlands East Valley, Redlands) DL
2015 — Oluwole Betiku (Serra, Gardena) DL
2014 — Iman Marshall (Long Beach Poly) DB
2013 — Adoree Jackson (Serra, Gardena) DB
2012 — Michael Hutchings (De La Salle, Concord) LB
2011 — Michael Barton (De La Salle, Concord) LB
2010 — Viliami Moala (Grant, Sacramento) NG
2009 — Viliami Moala (Grant, Sacramento) NG (Jr.)
2008 — Vontaze Burfict (Centennial, Corona) LB
2007 — Jurrell Casey (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) DL
2006 — Chris Galippo (Servite, Anaheim) LB
2005 — Darian Hagan Jr. (Crenshaw, Los Angeles) CB
2004 — Luthur Brown (Lakewood) LB
2003 — Brigham Harwell (Los Altos, Hacienda Heights) DT
2002 — Lawrence Jackson (Inglewood) DE
2001 — Derek Landri (De La Salle, Concord) DT
2000 — Kevin Simon (De La Salle, Concord) LB
1999 — D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) LB
1998 — D.J. Williams (De La Salle, Concord) LB (Jr.)
1997 — Robert Thomas (Imperial) LB
1996 — Andre Carter (Oak Grove, San Jose) DE
1995 — Chris Claiborne (J.W. North, Riverside) LB
1994 — Clyde Sanders (Grant, Sacramento) DE
1993 — Darrell Russell (St. Augustine, San Diego) DT
1992 — Travis Kirschke (Esperanza, Anaheim) DT
1991 — LeRoi Glover (Point Loma, San Diego) DT
1990 — Jamir Miller (El Cerrito) LB
1989 — Willie McGinest (Long Beach Poly, Long Beach) DE
1988 — Tommie Smith (Antelope Valley, Lancaster) DB
1987 — Arnold Ale (Carson) LB
1986 — Scott Ross (El Toro) LB
1985 — Randy Austin (Canyon, Canyon Country) LB
1984 — Mark Green (Poly, Riverside) DB
1983 — Chance Johnson (Compton) DB
1982 — Tim McDonald (Edison, Fresno) DB
1981 — George Ebertin (Bellarmine, San Jose) LB
1980 — Jack Del Rio (Hayward) LB
1979 — Darrell Hooper (Carson) DB
1978 — Michael Richardson (Compton) DB
1977 — Chuck Willig (St. Paul, Santa Fe Springs) DB
1976 — Dennis Smith (Santa Monica) DB
1975 — John Van Buren (South Hills, Covina) DB
1974 — Jerry Robinson (Cardinal Newman, Santa Rosa) NG
1973 — Frank Manumaluena (Banning, Wilmington) LB
1972 — Lonnie Shelton (Foothill, Bakersfield) DL
1971 — Paul Kinne (Paso Robles) DB

1970 — Fred McNeill (Baldwin Park) LB
1969 — Artimus Parker (Sacramento) LB
1968 — Willie Buchanon (Oceanside) DB

1967 — Jeff Siemon (Bakersfield) LB

1966 — Mel Gray (Montgomery, Santa Rosa) DB
1965 — John Albanese (Bellarmine, San Jose) LB
1964 — George Buehler (Whittier) LB

1963 — Tim Rossovich (St. Francis, Mountain View) LB
1962 — George Wilfert (Bellarmine, San Jose) DL
1961 — Ted Norlund (Lowell, San Francisco) DL
1960 — Rich Koeper (Sequoia, Redwood City) DL

*Spring of 2021 season due to COVID.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports

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