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Better Know a Freshman: Maea Teuhema

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Massive offensive lineman could make an early impact at LSU.

Student Sports

Les Miles believes in smashing people. To smash people, you need the right kind of personnel. Fullbacks, tight ends and offensive linemen, oh my! If Les had his druthers, entire recruiting classes would be filled with fullbacks, tight ends and offensive linemen. After all, QBs are just guys who get in the way of the real football being played.

Les himself is a former guard, and will probably always hold a soft spot for the position, despite admittedly being undersized himself. He was never a thumper, but he was meaner, tougher than his competition. Which is something of a nice analogy to his coaching career.

That said, he’s smart. He understands well that bigger, badder dudes usually win. All of that makes Maea Teuhema an easy recruiting target. Because he’s one of the biggest, baddest dudes on the recruiting block that you will ever find.

Background

Teuhema is the younger brother of current DE Sione Teuhema, a late add in the 2014 recruiting cycle. The brothers were formerly committed to the University of Texas and the Mack Brown regime. Once Brown resigned, they began to look around, though without attracting much attention. First they visited Texas and new head coach Charlie Strong. Then on to Oklahoma State before taking one last visit to LSU in late January 2014. Days later, on the eve of Signing Day, Sione decommitted from Texas and named LSU his leader. He signed his papers in a ceremony at his high school on National Signing Day and his younger brother Maea also pledged to LSU that day.

Realistically, the brothers held interest in LSU for a long period of time. Before committing to Texas, they were heavily considering the Tigers. The Brown resignation simply put the gears in motion for Les Miles and company to swoop in and sway them. Still, Maea had another season of prep ball and recruitment before officially inking his name to follow his brother to Baton Rouge.

Yet, there was very little drama here. Reportedly, there was some small interest in UCLA, where he wound up taking a late official visit, but nothing ever came of it, as Maea followed suit and signed with LSU on Signing Day 2015.

Many viewed Maea as the big prize of the brothers, though both are strong prospects in their own right. He earned an invite to Nike’s The Opening and played in the Under Armour All-American game. Maea is ranked a composite 4-star prospect with a .9827 rating.

100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career.

97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who displays pro-potential.

89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country.

79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.

Tale of the Tape

Height: 6’4"
Weight: 323 pounds (depending on how many cheeseburgers he ate that day)
40: 5.61
20 Yard Shuttle: 5.41
Vertical: 26"
Powerball: 38.5"
SPARQ: 80.58

Teuhema certainly isn’t a blow your doors off athlete. That said, when tested, he probably tipped the scales somewhere between 340 and 360 pounds. At the Opening he weighed 346 pounds. So not exactly the type of guy you expect to be fleet of foot or to test well in explosive measurements.

Film Study

Strengths: Power, Size, Nastiness, Punch

Weaknesses: Athleticism, Slow from Stance, Pass Blocking

Strengths

Power: :22 and there you go. Just moving human bodies about with the greatest of ease. Now :36, as soon as he gets his hands on most opponents, it’s game over. He deposits them right into the dirt. How about :54. Not a battle he wins from the word go, but his natural power allows him to eventually get the best of his opponent and put him right into the dirt.

Size: Teuhema is a big, big dude that carries a lot of mass naturally. Sure, he could always stand to add more muscle, but even at 340 pounds he’s not just a slug. That weight is packed pretty tightly onto his body and his mass, along with his strength, allows him to simply overpower most opponents.

Nastiness: Really, all throughout, so pick a clip. But :46 illustrates his favorite move. You know, the good ole drive his guy off the ball, into the ground and then belly flop on top of him. Just watch the tape, he likes to mix it up. He’s a tough guy, a bully, a big fat meanie on the field. He’s not a "glory blocker" either, who maxes out when the ball follows him but loafs otherwise. Check out 2:20 where he just rides a dude all the way down the field despite the play going the other way and getting stuffed at the LOS.

Punch: It ties into the above, but man, I love this kid’s punch. He can absolutely brutalize an opponent with the way he drives his fists into them.

Weaknesses

Athleticism: His testing numbers show he’s not the most nimble guy around. Still, he does move pretty well for a guy that huge. He can get downfield and pick up a block. At least he could in HS. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to maintain that ability at the collegiate level against much stronger athletes.

Slow From Stance: At 1:04 is probably the finest example. He’s a tick behind the snap and in HS this is a rep he can win anyways, just because he is so massive and strong. At college, that will probably result in a TFL or a very angry and sacked QB.

Pass Blocking: There’s not a ton of footage of him working as a pass blocker. He’ll need a lot of growth on his technique and skills here. I think his footwork will need the most improvement… really just the basics… how to get in his sets, how to keep a good base and kick slide, etc. etc.

Summary

LSU’s line depth is currently a major strength of the team. There’s probably 7 or 8 guys who could competently start come September 5th. Maybe more. That likely means Teuhema won’t see a ton of action in 2015.

That said, he’s a big, bad dude. If he’s in shape, he could ply himself right into the two-deep just simply being the big, bad dude that he is. The days of being a backup won’t be long for him. I see Teuhema as a guy that the staff might get to RS in 2015 and ask him to focus on his fitness. Then by 2016 he could be a candidate to take over the RT spot as a RS-Fr.

They could also see him as a guy that should see some garbage and reserve snaps throughout the season to prepare him for an eventual starting role in 2016. They’ve shown a penchant for playing young, big, bad ass OL in the past.

Teuhema is a mountain of a man that will make a significant impact at LSU. Look for him to be a multi-year starter and potential high draft pick. I want to see him full conditioned and against college athletes before I can tell if he’s got any future at left tackle. Right now, he looks the part of meaty, nasty guard or a right tackle.

High End: Multi-Year Starter, All-SEC

Low End: Key reserve and spot starter

Realistic: Teuhema will start for a year or two at minimum and probably dot a few awards lists before his days are over. He could be one of those rare offensive linemen that actually creates highlights with his crushing blocks.