BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Monday was a day some didn't think was possible for Bentonville offensive lineman Joey Su'a.
"We had a meeting a couple of years ago with Joey's academic staff and teachers and I mentioned Joey has a real possibility of making it D-I and they laughed," said Joe Su'a, Joey's father.
However, through dedication, determination, and faith, Joey Su'a's journey on the football field is taking the next step just half an hour away.
"I'm just grateful for everything that god has given to me," Joey said.
Su'a held his signing ceremony Monday at Bentonville, but will officially sign with Arkansas on Wednesday's Early Signing Day ahead of taking the field with the Razorbacks this fall.
"You know, I can't wait for the Hogs, you know, to be their guard or tackle," Joey said. "Wherever they want to put me at, I'm ready."
But getting to this point wasn't without a challenge.
"When Joey was two, he had caught meningitis," an emotional Joe said. "We're in the operating room, well the emergency room, and the doctor is saying you might have to plan his funeral."
The diagnosis left Su'a with a complete loss of hearing in his left ear and a partial loss in his right.
After 54 days in the hospital – the number he wore for the Bentonville Tigers – Su'a defied all odds.
With a cochlear implant and hearing aid – he is able to play the game he loves with his teammates - - his brothers on the football field.
"I love football because it's a brotherhood I get to have, the culture I have, the relationships I get to have," Joey said. "Football is just fun for me, you know, just to pancake people, open gaps for running backs, protect the quarterback, they're just like my family."
The Su'a family moved to Bentonville from California in 2020 during the covid pandemic.
Joey arrived at Bentonville high school with offers from schools like Georgia, Oregon, Fresno State, and others.
Plans were made to visit Missouri one Saturday – but it fell through.
What happened instead is the reason why Su'a will stay close to his new home in the natural state.
"He ended up going to Arkansas that day with his family, they offered him and it wasn't long after the fact that he made his decision to be a razorback and commit to the University of Arkansas," said Jody Grant, Bentonville head coach.
With his commitment set, Su'a will enroll at the University of Arkansas in January.
He plans to use the field as a way to be an inspiration to others.
"You know, it doesn't matter if you have disabilities, if you can believe you can do it, you can do it."