Daniel Faalele says that college coaches tell him they’re impressed by his “size, power, strength.” If they weren’t, they probably are in the wrong profession.
Faalele may be the most powerful junior prep football player in the nation and has been seen at invite-only camps totally disregarding opposing defenders like annoying gnats.
The monstrous ability to protect ball carriers certainly has the attention of Tennessee coaches, who hosted Faalele on Saturday. The IMG Academy standout from the 2018 class looked on from about the 50-yard line in the Neyland Stadium seats as the Volunteers had their annual Orange & White game in Knoxville.
“I loved it here,” Faalele told InsideTennessee. “Just speaking to the O-line and speaking to (Tennessee offensive line) coach (Walt) Wells, I feel comfortable here and definitely a school that I would consider just from a family standpoint and like the O-line standpoint.”
The 6-foot-8, 400-pound offensive tackle and Scout three-star prospect sat down with Wells earlier Saturday morning upon arrival. Thunderstorms cut short the action on Shields-Watkins Field.
Faalele and teammates of his from their campus in Bradenton, Florida, made it up to Rocky Top earlier this spring.
“It was less specific, it was less personal,” said Faalele, who is originally from Melbourne, Australia. “This time was definitely better just to get to know the coaches more.”
Before playing in a single game for IMG, Faalele earned scholarship offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Louisiana State, Miami (Fla.), UCLA and several others. The Vols offer came March 3 and the staff has done what it can to stand out.
“I just like coach Wells and how he coaches,” Faalele said. “From what I hear from the (Tennessee) O-line, I can relate to them and how they feel about the program. I don’t know, it feels good here, I feel comfortable.”
Trey Smith, 17, is the youngest player on Tennessee’s roster and can relate to being a recruit like Faalele as Smith was in the same boat up until just over three months ago. Faalele and Smith spoke briefly on Saturday.
“(Smith) just kept it real with me, and I liked what I heard,” said Faalele, who is also 17 but wears size 18 shoes.
The No. 9-ranked offensive tackle in the Sunshine State and No. 44 nationally would like to make a third visit to Tennessee.
“I just need to work around our spring practice schedule first, but hopefully,” said Faalele, whose team gets going Monday.
Faalele is committed to playing in the Under Armour All-America Game in January.