(75) FAAESEA MAILO--Offensive Guard, 6-3, 325, Sr./Sr.
2001: Mailo was moved from starting right offensive tackle back to left guard (he had 6 starts there earlier in his career) as a senior in 2001 and started 8 games there (all but San Jose State, Stanford, Oregon State and UCLA). He appeared in all 12 games. A twisted right knee slowed him in 2001 fall camp and kept him out of the starting lineup for the San Jose State opener; he didn't start the other 3 games because of better showings in practice by Norm Katnik. He was USC's only senior lineman.
2000: After spending his 2 previous seasons on the left side of the offensive line, Mailo started all of 2000 at right offensive tackle as a junior. He also once again was used at fullback in short yardage (goal line) situations, a la William "Refrigerator" Perry, and proved to be a devastating blocker (he did not carry the ball).
1999: Mailo returned from a 2-year Mormon mission in Sapporo, Japan (on the island of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost prefect) and picked up where he left off in 1996 with the Trojans (per NCAA rule, he was not charged with any lost years of eligibility while on his mission). He started 5 games (Oregon State, Arizona, Notre Dame, Stanford and Louisiana Tech) at left offensive guard in 1999 and served as the backup to Donta Kendrick in the others. He also played on special teams. And he lined up at fullback in short yardage (goal line) situations (the Trojans converted all but one try in that formation). He missed the California game with a bruised lower right leg suffered in the Stanford contest.
1998: Mailo served the second year of a 2-year Mormon mission in Japan and was not with the Trojans in 1998.
1997: Mailo was not with the Trojans in 1997 because he left USC to go on a 2-year Mormon mission in Japan after the 1996 season.
1996: As just a first-year freshman, Mailo started 3 times in 1996 (at left offensive guard at Houston and at left offensive tackle versus Stanford and Notre Dame). He also appeared in 5 other games (Illinois, Oregon State, Washington State, Washington and UCLA) as a reserve and on special teams. He missed the California and Arizona games (he suited up for the Arizona State contest, but didn't see action) after being sidelined in the Houston game with a hairline fracture in his right shoulder.
HIGH SCHOOL: He was selected to the 1995 Super Prep All-American, USA Today All-USA honorable mention, Bluechip Best of the West, Super Prep All-Farwest, Bluechip All-Western and Tacoma News Tribune Western 100 teams as a senior at Kahuku (Hi.) High.
He spent his 1994 junior season at Banning High in Wilmington (Calif.), earning Los Angeles Times All-South Bay second team honors. Current Trojan Chris Howard also prepped at Banning.
He was at Kahuku for his 1992 freshman and 1993 sophomore seasons. Although he was born in Torrance (Calif.), he moved to Hawaii when he was 1-year-old and lived there for all but the 1 year he spent at Banning living with his aunt.
At Kahuku, he also participated on the sumo club, where he won the Hawaii state sumo championship. In June of 1996, he went to Japan to train with pro sumo wrestlers and then competed against high school and collegiate wrestlers.
PERSONAL: He's an international relations major at USC. In Samoan, Faaesea's name means, "Someone who does things differently." His father, James, played football at Hawaii. His brother, Anipati, is a junior linebacker at Hawaii. Another brother, Fulutusi, is a sophomore linebacker at Montana State. His sports hero is ex-Trojan star and former NFL All-Pro offensive tackle Anthony Munoz. He is fluent in Japanese.
FAAESEA MAILO ON: His ability: "I think I run pretty well and my quickness is an advantage. My leg drive is what gets me going. That's where I get my strength from...I am a very aggressive player and I won't take anything from anybody on the field. I enjoy running people over." Lining up as a blocking fullback in short yardage situations: "I like to line up in the backfield and get myself some of that momentum. I get to run downhill on a linebacker…I tell the coaches to give me the ball and I promise I won't go down and I won't fumble it. Who knows? Someday, maybe. It's every lineman's dream to pick up the ball and score a touchdown, but not as a running back. That's not why I'm there." Sumo wrestling: "Basically, sumo is the same thing as playing offensive tackle. In sumo, you're trying to push or shove a guy out of a 15-foot circle, and you can use your hands. It teaches you balance, too. When we're run-blocking in football, it's basically the same as a charge at a sumo opponent. It's a leg strength sport...The top sumo guys in Japan make Michael Jordan money. People in Japan told me I could do well over there, with training. They said I had good quickness, power, enthusiasm and the fighting spirit of sumo."
Going on his Mormon mission: "We were out 12 hours a day six days a week talking to people. When just about every door is a rejection, it's pretty tough. It is a very humbling experience. But you learn you can't get down. You have to get back up. If there were rejections, you have to suck it up and do it again…I matured immensely while on the mission. Meeting new people all the time helped me mentally. I met a lot of good people and the experience helped me focus better on what I'm doing...We were treated very well by the Japanese people. Oh, I had a couple of doors slammed in my face, but for the most part it was a pleasant experience...One time, this little old lady looked at me, screamed and slammed the door. We decided to just leave a pamphlet in her mailbox…Sometimes you'd knock on a hundred doors and everyone slams it in your face. But maybe by the end of the day, you meet one person who says, 'All right, come on in,' and it makes it all worthwhile…In two years, we converted two people. That was a great feeling. It was like, 'Yeah, we got one.' What made it great was that I did something to make a person happier. I changed a life for the better. It's just that good feeling you get when you help someone. Take that feeling and times it by 100. That's what it was like…No way was it a waste of time. We did a lot of good in the cities and learned a lot and grew a lot. I learned a lot about people and a lot about myself. I learned how people should be treated and how to treat others. I learned a lot about others. I learned a lot about God…Every day on my mission, I always stopped some kind of crowd. I would be walking down the street and you would see everyone just stop in their tracks. They must have throught I was a sumo wrestler...I cherish my religion. It is a very big part of my life. I talked to many football players about leaving college to go on a mission and they all said they have no regrets. They all have said it was very good for them...It was an experience. It was such a big impact on my life. I am a lot more mature and a lot more focused. I have my priorities straight and I have a better sense of where I want to go in life."
The difficulty when taking his USC team portrait: "The team dress jacket they had just wouldn't fit. My arms were too big and every time I tried to put the jacket on, the arms would start to rip. If you look at the team photos, you'll see I'm the only one with a windbreaker on."
His dream job: "I've always wanted to work for the FBI. I don't mean working undercover. I know I couldn't do that. But I am majoring in international relations and I do speak Japanese pretty fluently, so I thought it would be cool to make money by speaking Japanese, maybe working in an embassy or something."
WHAT OTHERS SAY: Former USC tailback Chad Morton: "He made my job so much easier. It was so much fun. He knocks their heads back. If I stayed right behind him, I knew it was going to be a touchdown."
Former USC tailback Petros Papadakis: "When he lined up at fullback, it was hard to see past him. He has a big butt. It's huge!"
His father, James: "He was anxious to get back to USC from his mission. Hokkaido has weather that's somewhat similar to Siberia and Faaesea was freezing there."
John Jacques, Kahuku High's sumo wrestling coach: "This is a young kid with a lot of great natural athletic ability and natural strength, and good discipline. All the sumo people in Japan were really impressed with his strength and focus."