Images from the USC vs. Arizona match up on Saturday, October 25, 2008.
CAREER: He has 194 tackles in his career.
2008: Maualuga, USC's leading tackler in 2007 and a 2-time All-Pac-10 first teamer now in line for All-American and Butkus Award honors, returns for his third season as the Trojans' menacing starting middle linebacker as a senior in 2008. He was named to the 2008 Playboy Pre-Season All-American team. He is on the "Watch List" for the 2008 Lombardi Award and Bronko Nagurski Award.
2007: Maualuga returned for his second season as USC's starting middle linebacker as a junior in 2007 and led the team in tackles. Overall in 2007 while appearing in all 13 games (starting all but the Notre Dame game, in which he was limited because of a hip pointer), he had 79 tackles, including 10.5 for losses of 40 yards (with 6 sacks for minus 32 yards), plus 1 fumble recovery, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception (returned for 19 yards) and 3 deflections. He was named to the 2007 Phil Steele's All-American third team, Collegefootballnews.com All-American honorable mention, Pro Football Weekly All-American honorable mention, All-Pac-10 first team (for the second year in a row), Collegefootballnews.com All-Pac-10 first team, Phil Steele's All-Pac-10 first team and Rivals.com All-Pac-10 second team.
He had 4 tackles versus Idaho, 6 tackles (including 1.5 for losses) at Nebraska and 6 stops against Washington State. He then had a game-high 10 tackles (1 for a loss) at Washington, a game-high 10 tackles (with a sack) against Stanford, 4 tackles at Arizona, 3 tackles (including 2 sacks) at Notre Dame, 11 stops (1 for a loss) and a fumble recovery at Oregon, 5 tackles (including 1 for a loss) and a deflection against Oregon State, 5 tackles at California and 3 stops at Arizona Stae. He had a game-high 8 tackles and a deflection against UCLA. Against Illinois, he had 3 sacks among his 4 tackles and added an interception (returned 19 yards to set up a USC TD) and a forced fumble to earn Rose Bowl Defensive MVP, ESPN.com All-Bowl Team and CBSSportsline.com All-Bowl Team honors.
2006: Maualuga started most of 2006 at middle linebacker as a sophomore and proved to be an impact player. Overall in 2006 while appearing in all 13 games (he started all but Arkansas, Oregon State and Notre Dame), he had a 78 tackles, including 5 for losses of 17 yards (with 2 sacks for minus 8 yards), an interception, 3 deflections and a forced fumble. He made the 2006 Pro Football Weekly All-American honorable mention, Collegefootballnews.com Sophomore All-American first team, All-Pac-10 first team, ESPN.com All-Pac-10 first team, Scout.com All-Pac-10 first team and Rivals.com All-Pac-10 second team and was 1 of 10 semifinalists for the 2006 Butkus Award.
He had 6 tackles at Arkansas, then a game-high and personal-best 11 tackles (1 for a loss) versus Nebraska, 4 tackles, including 2 for a loss (with a sack), and an interception at Arizona and a team-best 9 tackles with a deflection at Washington State. He added 5 tackles and a deflection against Washington, a team-best 8 tackles against Arizona State, 7 stops at Oregon State, 5 tackles (0.5 for a loss) at Stanford and 6 stops and a forced fumble against Oregon. He made 4 tackles (0.5 for a loss) against California, 3 tackles and a deflection against Notre Dame, 7 tackles (with a sack) at UCLA and 2 stops versus Michigan.
2005: Maualuga was an effective and often-used backup middle linebacker and key special teams player as a first-year freshman in 2005. Overall in 2005 while appearing in 12 games (all but Hawaii), he had 37 tackles, including 4.5 for losses of 23 yards (with an 8-yard sack), plus he had 2 forced fumbles, 2 deflections and an interception that he returned 9 yards. He also returned 1 kickoff for 7 yards (7.0 avg). He had a team-best 9 tackles (1 for a loss), 2 forced fumbles (both recovered by USC to set up touchdowns) and 2 deflections against UCLA, 6 tackles (with the sack) and the interception at California, another 6 stops against Washington State, 5 tackles versus Stanford, 3 stops (2 for losses) against Arkansas and another 3 versus Fresno State. He made a tackle and returned a short kickoff 7 yards against Texas. He made the 2005 Football Writers Freshman All-American first team and Scout.com Freshman All-American first team. He won USC's John McKay Award (most competitive spirit).
HIGH SCHOOL: He earned 2004 Parade All-American, USA Today All-USA first team, Super Prep Elite 50, Prep Star Top 100 Dream Team, Student Sports Top 100, Rivals 100, Super Prep All-American, Prep Star All-American, Tom Lemming All-American, Scout.com All-American first team, EA Sports All-American second team, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West first team, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Orange County Register Fab 15 first team and Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team honors as a senior linebacker at Eureka (Calif.) High. He had 96 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions (2 for TDs), 2 fumble recoveries and 1 kickoff return for a touchdown in 2004.
As a junior in 2003, he was a Student Sports Junior All-American and Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team pick while posting 146 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and 1 interception. Eureka went 20-2-1 during his junior and senior seasons.
He spent his 2001 freshman year at St. Bonaventure High in Ventura (Calif.).
PERSONAL: He's a sociology major at USC. He was born in Oklahoma.
REY MAUALUGA ON: His style: "I want to become the player that the offense gameplans around, that the offense fears coming into the game."
The inspiration he draws from his late father, Talatonu, who died just before the 2006 Rose Bowl BCS Championship Game: "It doesn't hit me as much now as it did, but I use it as inspiration. He's out there in my heart playing with me. Even though he's not here, he's with me spiritually."
His recent maturity: "I've matured a lot lately. That childish player, that person that I was, is long gone. I feel like I've developed a sense of leadership on the team. I've learned the do's and don't's, and I've realized what's important."
WHAT OTHERS SAY: Former Washington State head coach Bill Doba: "Maualuga has my vote for All-American right now. He is a super linebacker."
Steve Dilbeck, Los Angeles Daily News: "Have you seen the play of USC linebacker Rey Maualuga? If you watched the Trojans play, could your eyes possibly avoid him?...Does this look like Superman in cardinal and gold or what? He flies to the ball and then hits like a locomotive...Isn't this obviously USC's next superstar?...Maualuga has given every indication of becoming the ideal middle linebacker. He has the natural size. He has incredible burst. He is powerful and aggressive and uncommonly fast. More than all that, he is also amazingly athletic. He can be a sledgehammer or a ballerina. Dazzle with power or agility. Play with fury and control."
Lou Holtz, ESPN Magazine: "He's the next great Trojans linebacker, very physical, always lining up big hits. He reminds me of (ex-Ohio State All-American) A.J. Hawk. Maualuga's athletic ability is similar to Hawk's, but the infectiousness of his free spirit makes him even more valuable to his team."