Tutulupeatau Mataele, known to his coaches and teammates as "Deuce", first arrived on the Boise State campus in the spring of 2013. A transfer from Mt. San Antonio College near Los Angeles, Mataele was 25 years old at the time. But academic issues forced him to miss both the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Mataele is from Utah, and after living in Hawai'i, California and Arizona, returned to Utah to graduate from high school. During this time, he wore the number 22 playing basketball and football, and everyone called him "Deuce, Deuce". The nickname stuck. He went on a two-year LDS mission, then spent the next year helping his family with their authentic Polynesian food and product store called Hawai'ian Hut.BroncoCountry photo by Shelby Ransom)
But football was in his blood, and Mataele walked on at Mt. San Antonio. Deuce registered 81 tackles, including 24.5 for loss, and forced five fumbles in two seasons at Mt. San Antonio. Mataele received scholarship offers from some Pac-12 schools, but chose Boise State.
The Broncos had big plans for Mataele, but academic issues came up from his time at Mt. Santonio when some of his credits could not transfer to Boise State. Deuce had to sit the next two years. Mataele spent last season on the scout team, knowing that 2015 would be his only season playing football.
Not every school would do this, but Boise State kept Mataele on scholarship for three years, knowing that they would only have him on the field for one. Meanwhile, Mataele worked hard in practice, earning Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year last season.
And, although he sat out the Washington game, Deuce finally played last weekend for about seven plays against BYU, he said. "It was just a good opportunity to get out there finally, three years going, and then getting into a game was awesome."
Mataele said about his first name,Tutulupeatau, which means "the silence before war": "They told me when I was young, the name and my responsibility. I think it has a lot to do on (with) my character. I think a lot of times people are down so much about things that they can't control, so the reason behind my name, 'Why cry, let's just go to war', is the mentality that I stuck with for my whole life."
When asked if he thought his playing time would increase as he recuperates from a hand injury suffered two weeks ago, Mataele said, "Whoever's up there first, they're up there for a reason. Everyone works for their position." "That's the thing I love about the Boise State culture," he continued, "we root them on while they're doing good, and when they're down, we step right up to the plate."