"Taleni is very physical," Ardrey Kell head coach Adam Hastings said. "He's really athletic – he'll really surprise you how athletic he is. He's one of those guys that if he gets his hands on you, he's going to put you into the ground. He has really grasped the concepts. He has really used his size, athleticism, and his natural ability to play offensive line. He put it all together to have a really good year… He could play guard or he can play tackle."
Suhren began his prep career as a junior varsity defensive tackle. A couple of games into that season, he was converted to offensive tackle.
"We converted him because of his feet and his frame and his attitude," Hastings said. "I always think defensive linemen make great offensive linemen, because they're very physical and play very aggressive – and that's what we want for offensive linemen."
The move paid off in 2013 when Suhren not only won the starting right tackle spot – opposite Veal, who started on the left side – but was named All-South Meck 8 Conference as a sophomore.
Hastings has a unique way of rewarding his offensive linemen for their play on Friday nights.
"We do a competition every week among the offensive linemen," Suhren said. "For each pancake [block] we get, we get a Snickers bar. On Monday after the game, [Hastings] gives out Snicker bars… I guess Coach Hastings goes to Costco and buys a whole 24-pack of Snickers bars."
Suhren doesn't have an exact tally of his sophomore season's candy bar consumption. But he estimates eating, on average, seven the Monday following a game.
Though it has yet to offer, North Carolina has shown significant interest in Suhren.
"I think they've seen just what I've seen and everybody else has seen just by watching his film – his potential," Hastings said. "They see how big he's going to be. He's 264 [pounds] right now and he's only going to get bigger. I think they see the high ceiling that he has and I think that's why they've been as aggressive as they have."
Suhren has also heard from Charlotte, Clemson, Duke, Michigan, and South Carolina.
"A lot of people have come in to see him in-person, because they've seen the potential on his film," Hastings said.
Hastings believes Suhren could play guard in college, but will likely remain a tackle.
"I think he could move inside, but he has the foot speed and mobility to play outside," Hastings said.
Due to UNC's interest, Suhren has made a handful of visits to Chapel Hill for camps, football games, and junior days. He has also camped at South Carolina and attended Charlotte's Junior Day.
"I like Carolina a lot," Suhren said. "I've always had a good experience there. Also, UNCC was really nice – there's a lot of potential there that I can see. South Carolina, it's the SEC, I like how they play ball and with the little tour that I had I was impressed."
Two members of Ardrey Kell's offensive line will continue their football careers at UNC. Veal committed last Friday, while center Kyle Murphy plans to walk-on as a long snapper this fall. Also, Corbin Daly, a punter, will also walk-on but has been promised a scholarship following the 2014 season.
"It factors in a lot," Suhren said. "Mason has always been the guy that has guided me into varsity. He helped me with a lot of the plays. Coming in as a freshman, your head is spinning, you're trying to learn plays, and get the technique down and he really helped me. A lot of the guys, like Kyle, helped me out a lot."
In addition to those connections, Suhren has a family friend that ran track for the Tar Heels and his older sister is a member of UNC's rugby team.
Suhren played rugby growing up, but decided to focus on football in high school… Suhren's father is from American Samoa and his mother is from Long Beach, Calif. Those connections to the west coast had Suhren growing up a USC fan.