With a trip to the Coliseum slowly approaching, we plan to take a quick look at a few of USC's more notable players in an effort to increase your familiarity, get your blood boiling and increase your hatred of L.A.'s only professional football team.
Rey could have gone into the NFL, but the 6'2", 260 pound middle linebacker with 4.5 speed decided to come back for his senior season, looking to gain his third straight All-PAC-10 First Team honors. Rey is without question the heart and soul of this defense and perhaps the entire team.
Born in Oklahoma, Rey moved to Hawaii at a very young age, started playing football in the sixth grade and his family moved to California shortly after. After playing his freshman year in Ventura, his family moved north to Eureka, where he started to develop into the wrecking ball he is today.
During his final two years of high school, his teams went 20-2-1 and his numbers were sick: 242 tackles, 80 TFL, at least 11 sacks, 5 INT's (2 returned for TD), 2 fumble recoveries and a kickoff return for a touchdown. It is no surprise he played in the US Army AA game and was selected USA Today First-Team defense.
Rey Rey played backup most of the year as a freshman, but saved his best game for UCLA, where he posted 9 tackles (1 TFL), 2 forced fumbles and 2 deflections. Maualuga finished the season with 37 tackles and earned freshmen All-American honors. He also overcame a minor arrest in early November and the passing of his father 2 days before the Rose Bowl (USC v. Texas).
While he didn't start every game his sophomore year, Rey recorded 78 tackles, including 5 TFL and 2 sacks. These numbers were good enough for First Team PAC-10, some honorable mention AA awards and a semi-finalist for the Butkus award.
His numbers last year are not eye popping, but they were good enough to land Rey on Phil Steele's third team All-American honors and his second straight All-PAC-10 honors. He lead the Trojans with 79 tackles, including 10 for losses and 6 sacks. With the wood that Maualuga brings, it is surprising to see he only has 4 forced fumbles in his career.
He has been slowed just a bit by a broken finger this season, posting only 4 tackles in the Virginia thrashing. He passed out in the airport afterwards, claiming the 2 Vicodin he took before the game lead to dehydration. I can only hope one of my Buckeye brethren will some how sneak into the USC locker room and replace the Vicodin with Xanax.
His takedowns have become legendary and what legend doesn't have some type of nickname. "Maualugaed" has earned a spot in the Urban Dictionary and Brent Musburger will be dying to get that phrase into the telecast. Mark my words, the first big hit Maualuga has on Saturday, Brent will be putting down his beer and screaming "Holy Trojan Horse Herbie, Mo Wells just got Maualugaed!"
Trojan fans have littered You Tube with videos of Rey Rey's monster hits. The one below is eloquently titled, "Rey's Maualuga hit list" Here's to hoping one of the Buckeyes doesn't end up on that list.