Oregon football recruiting: if they can pry him from Texas, Trey Lealaimatafao fills a big gap in 2014 class

From Warren High School in San Antonio, Trey Lealaimatafao is an impact player at a position where the Ducks need immediate impact.

The 6-1, 290-lb. defensive tackle is strong and quick, a true nose tackle in a year where there aren’t many of his caliber available in the West.

Army strong: Army All-American Trey Lealaimatafao could have the impact of two tanks and a howitzer on the Oregon defensive line, where the Ducks graduate five defensive tackles.


Playing for head coach Brian Dausin’s 9-3 squad that went 7-1 in league play, Lealaimatafao (pronounced Lay-Ah-Lah-EE-Mah-Tah-Fou) was a unanimous all-district selection who made 71 tackles as a senior. He was also all-district as a junior, with 33 tackles and 8 sacks.

A consensus 3-star prospect, he’s relentless inside with a big motor, whether shooting the gap or taking on double teams. Typically the Ducks like tall defensive linemen, but Lealaimatafao uses his relatively short stature and strength to get leverage and beat blocks. He pursues and runs really well for a big man, disruptive and resourceful, not just plugging gaps and tying up the guard and center, but getting off them and making plays. He runs sideline to sideline and hunts down ball carriers like Taylor Hart and Will Sutton.

On film, Oregon fans will salivate at his explosiveness, intensity and drive. He brings a warrior-like determination to hand-fighting, sifts through plays smartly to find the ball. He plays to the whistle. He’s worked out with his father all through his athletic career and trained hard, and it shows. He slimmed down to 290 for his senior season, and the added agility and athleticism made him even tougher as a force on a hustling, nasty defense.

The Ducks extended an offer to Lealaimatafao this weekend. He committed to the Texas Longhorns after attending that annual Orange and White Game last March, but has since opened up his recruiting, taking trips to Ole Miss, UCLA, Texas and ASU. The Army All-American has about 18 offers, a list that includes Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State.

As a high-profile recruit at a highly sought after position, Trey has gained valuable extra experience attending clinics, combines and camps. He attended Junior Days at Texas, LSU and Missouri. He’s challenged himself in one-on-one drills against top prospects for three years, developing his game and instincts. Texas 5A football is among the most demanding prep competition in the country.

With one visit remaining and the Ducks headed to his hometown for a high-visibility bowl game, grabbing both the victory and this standout DT from the Longhorns would be huge for the future of Oregon football.

His junior highlight video appears below and his senior highlight film can be found here.

Notes from the videos:

Junior highlights:

A true nose tackle with a nose tackle mentality and a taste for the hand-to-hand combat inside–really likes to mix it up. Shows the ability to penetrate and disrupt, take on two blocks, swim move, spin, hammer and punch through. Can bull rush. Reads and reacts beautifully. A run stuffer with great determination.
Pursues to the whistle. Drives offensive linemen backward, often two at a time.
Runs very well for a big man, collapsing the pocket, then pursuing the running back on the outlet pass.
Doesn’t let the first contact defeat him, fights off blocks, uses his strength, gets in on the play. Can shoot a gap as well as plug it. Changes direction well and displays good instincts and a nose for the ball.

Good drive off the line of scrimmage, quick first step. Can get a little high but that’s typical. Looks extremely teachable
Accustomed to being double teamed and takes it on with energy and determination. Keeps his eyes up and rallies to the ball. Very quick over 20 yards, takes good angles to the ball. Has a motor like Taylor Hart or Zac Clark, which is rare in a 300-lb. guy.
Nimble going after the quarterback. QB spins away and eludes the first swipe; he changes direction and swarms him under. Persistent, determined. A lot of heart, fierceness. Keeps after it. A good teammate who plays to win and fights for the guy next to him.

Stands up a double team, sheds it, swallows the ball carrier. Makes plays rather than just soaking up blocks. A warrior attitude.
Pushes a guard five yards into the backfield. Very nice intensity. Disruptive. A defender that can create a new line of scrimmage two yards into the offensive backfield. Gets in on tackles and finishes. Exceptional intensity for a nose, aggressive attitude. Moves really well and has the quickness to rush the passer, the strength to stop the run.
Very well coached. Plugs his gap, then gets in on the play. Disciplined about his assignments first, then gives you something extra.

Sifts through a play really well. Zone-read fake, blows by a block, checks the runner for the ball, then gets after the quarterback and forces a throwaway from the end zone. Has the ability to wreck plays and frustrate an offense. A difference maker who plays with a lot of intelligence and maturity.
Tests his man early and often, and when he is lined up across from a guy who can’t block him, he exploits it.
Comes in under control when he invades the pocket and closes in nicely. Good feet for his size. Really gets after people.

Senior highlights:

He’s gotten even quicker, and surer about what he’s doing. Good balance and body control. Even more athletic after shedding some baby fat.
Has the right amount of meanness and the ability to throw a runner down. Shows desire and intensity.
A full summer of camps and combines has improved his hand fighting skills. Will spin off a block, get off the ground to get back in a play.

Tackles with a lot of athleticism, wrapping up the legs in pursuit. Can also deliver a big hit.
A hard worker. Plays with an edge, a little angry, plenty of desire. Very productive and physical. Not a docile big guy. Good lateral movement. 4.59 shuttle, quick in the first 12 yards.
Uses his arms well, powerful base. Pursues like a linebacker.
Won’t stay blocked–keeps chipping away.

Very smart when an offense tries to read him. Gets penetration, stays home, reacts to the ball. Agile and hungry–that strategy doesn’t really work.
Can create a big collision or just dive low and wrap up in space. Flexible. Great reactions. Does what works. Overcomes in the heat of the battle, combative and resourceful.
With PAC-12 refs, has to be more careful about hitting the quarterback after he releases the ball.
Against PAC-12 offensive linemen, won’t be able to just stand up and wrestle them off. Has to drive out more, but that’s typical for a guy who’s probably the biggest and strongest kid in the district.

Tough-minded, intense, smart–give me 10 more just like him. He’s underrated as a three-star. There’s a lot more here. Plays with an edge, relentless.
Spins twice to get in on a play–really has a good nose for the ball, exceptional in an interior high school defensive lineman.

Runs down a play 20 yards upfield.
Will get to fumbles first, and cause some. Packs a punch and doesn’t waste it.
An inspirational player in the way he contributes to team defense and keeps working. He’ll take on a double team, defeat it, and keep pursuing. Rallies to the ball, cuts off angles and cut back lanes, finishes off a trapped ball carrier. Doesn’t give up. Good balance. Tremendous effort, conditioning, especially for his size.