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Rose Bowl Preview - A Look at Rey Maualuga

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Every good defense has a player that serves as an emotional leader. They are the heart and soul. They play every down as if the entire universe depends on them making a stop. When they are injured or not playing well the entire defense looks lifeless. But when they are on they elevate the play of those around them. For USC, linebacker Rey Maualuga is that player.

Rey Maualuga was born in Oklahoma to American Samoan parents. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Hawaii. Maualuga started playing football in the sixth grade because he thought it was cool how the older kids carried their pads to school with them. Unfortunately for Penn State, the older kids didn't carry chess boards to school. Otherwise he might have started some kind of underground violent chess club or something.

Chess Club (via saveanalog)


When he got older his parents moved to California where Maualuga decided he did not want to become a farmer.

In Eureka, where his father practiced a Pentecostal ministry, he was again an outsider.

"I grew up in the city, and all of a sudden I was in the country," he says. "I drove by a bunch of cows and horses and said, 'What am I doing out here?

Amazingly, Maualuga did not list Penn State among his favorite schools during the recruiting process.

Maualuga is a three year starter that has had a fantastic career at USC.

Rey Maualuga Tackles Sacks Interceptions
Solo Ast Total TFL TFL Yds Sacks Yds Int Yds IntTD
2006 46 32 78 5 17 2 8 1 0 0
2007 41 38 79 10.5 40 6 32 1 19 0
2008 45 28 73 2.5 11 0 0 2 48 1

Maualuga had no shortage of hardware in 2008 bringing home the Best Penn State Linebacker Bednarik Award as well as First Team All American honors. He was also named to the All PAC-10 team and singled out as the PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

Now please enjoy this youtube highlight film showing the same six plays over and over from different angles to give the impression that he can dominate a game.

Ray Maualuga #58 USC (via thebutkusaward)