Mataele Pau'u Tops DT List for Major Colleges

Perhaps the reason this top-rated LDS defensive tackle in Southern California is coveted by so major colleges is his defensive production as a junior last year: 76 solo tackles, 44 assisted tackles, 8 sacks, 4 caused fumbles, and 6 tips.

Mataele Pauu, the 6-3, 298 pound Tongan recruit from Mira Costa High School, runs a 4.9/40 and a 4.4 shuttle.

Pau'u's father, Tom Pau'u, is currently serving in the High Council of a Southern California stake. "My dad is from Fo'ui and my mom is from Halaufuli (Vava'u), Tonga.

As a fullback, Pau'u had 30 carries for 200 yards and five touchdowns. "My longest run was 50 yards on a regular drive. Everyone was just diving at my legs and kept bouncing off," said Pau'u. But I like defense better. When you hit somebody, it feels good."

For now, Pau'u is focused on getting stronger in the weight room in preparation for his final season of prep football. Reportedly, he benches 27 reps at 185 pounds. "I bench, like, 350 and squat 500 and some change. I just did my vertical and I had a 30.5."

Pau'u's first offer from a major college came from UCLA after his sophomore year. Since then, many colleges around the country have come calling for this All-State athlete.

"Yeah, there's a couple (interested)," said Pau'u, like "UCLA, Michigan, Washington, Notre Dame, Oregon, Arizona, ASU, USC, Penn State, Alabama, California, Fresno State and BYU. The ones that have offered are Michigan, UCLA, Penn State, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, San Diego State and San Jose State."

Asked about his interest in BYU, Pau'u said, "They've (BYU) sent me letters, but they don't call like the other schools do. The ones that call a lot are Michigan, Oregon, UCLA and Penn State emails a lot. Arizona calls and they send a lot of handwritten letters. They talk to my coach at school. Steve Kaufusi, (BYU defensive line coach) did call my coach. He said he wanted a copy of my transcripts and stuff."

Pau'u's said he currently maintains a 2.9 GPA in his core classes. "School is going good. I haven't taken the test (ACT) yet, but I'm taking it in May."

He noted that one of the top priorities is to "definitely serve an LDS mission" right out of high school. "Yep, I'm going on a mission. Where ever the Lord sends me."

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