We've got just 55 days until kickoff, so today I'll highlight the player that wears the #55 jersey for the Broncos and one that we sincerely hope uses it this year—Tutulupeatau Mataele
#55, Tutulupeatau Mataele, Senior, DT
Weight: 303 lbs
High School/College: Granger High School, West Valley, UT/Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, CA
How'd he get to the Blue™?
Mataele was a surprise DT recruit that rounded out the 2013 recruiting class. We'd known about Fort Scott's Justin Taimatuia for a while, but right before signing day Mataele was signed, sealed and delivered in time for Spring ball (an early entry that ended up not mattering much...as you'll read further on). At Granger High School, Mataele was a two year all-league selection (first team as a senior and second team as a junior), and then took his sizable frame (and talents) to Mt. SAC where he racked up 81 tackles (24.5 for loss), 4 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 5 PBUs in his two year career. Mataele chose the Broncos over offers from Arizona State and BYU.
An actual nickname? What is this devilry?
Still seeing Austin Pettis on HGH
Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year in 2014. Team high 42 tackles for Mt. SAC in 2012. First team all-league as a senior at Granger HS in 2010. Second team all-league as junior at GHS in 2009.
This has to have been a frustrating two years in Boise for Deuce. The big JuCo transfer was highly-touted upon his arrival and looked set to snag a spot on the two-deep in 2013 before getting dinged for an academic issue and having to sit out the year. Last season looked more promising for Deuce, but again...his past academic mistake caught up with him and he was unable to suit up (although, he was able to practice, puzzlingly). Alas, last season's redshirt was the only thing that saved Mataele's career from being one big "what if", but 2015 is the last gasp and the whole of Bronco Nation truly hopes this is a season to remember.
Even though we've never really seen Mataele in action...the hype alone (plus the fact that he's probably pushing 30) lead me to believe he'll definitely be in the starting discussion come Fall Camp and should at the very least factor into the immediate tackle rotation. There aren't a ton of D-linemen left on the countdown, so I think it's probably time to prognosticate a little and say who I think will be the starting front four. Keep in mind, the Broncos have the horses (no pun intended) to get fresh legs in constantly, and the top four DTs are practically interchangeable, in my opinion (not as much with the top four DEs). As of right now, I envision a starting DE duo of Kamalei Correa and Sam McCaskill and the pair of DT "ones" to be Armand Nance and Tyler Horn. Of course, Horn could move back out to DE and mssrs Hoyte, Turner, Ash, Mataele, or Taimatuia could slide easily into that spot. It really is an embarassment of riches on the D-line this year and even though depth appears to be on our side, for the Broncos to truly dominate up front this year we'll need every man healthy and contributing. Mataele's addition could give us the extra kick over the top and I sincerely hope he's ready to go next month and unencumbered.
Is he on Twitter?
I don't believe so.
Completely NOT made up fact
Mataele is Tongan. Did you know that Tonga is comprised of 177 islands? Did you know that of the 52 inhabited islands in Tonga, there are only 103,000 residents? 52 islands: slightly larger total population than Nampa.