Sport

Aussie NFL monster: Giant teen stands at 2m, weighs 179kg

Meet Daniel Faalele, 17. He weighs 179kg, is 2m tall and is scaring the NFL.
Meet Daniel Faalele, 17. He weighs 179kg, is 2m tall and is scaring the NFL.

SOMEWHERE along the way Melbourne teenager Daniel Faalele developed the nickname "Baby Shaq", despite the fact that right now he is heavier than the sporting figure synonymous with titanic presence.

It was an early nickname that the 17-year-old out-grew almost instantly.

More recently the Florida-based high school student has been described as an "urban legend" and an "18-wheel truck". All this is despite the fact he has never played a game of American football.

It's not hard to see why America and now Australia have become engrossed in Faalele's incredible story.
 

Let's start with what you want to know. Faalele was most recently measured at 2.06m and more than 179kg heading into his senior year of high school.

He is raw physical perfection in the eyes of American football scouts looking for an offensive lineman.

Raw is the key word in that sentence. Despite arriving at IMG Academy in Bradenton, about an hours drive from Tampa, in August last year he has never played in a single down.

IMG are more than fine with this.

The high school recruited him knowing full well he had never played the game or even practised the role of offensive tackle before IMG coach Kevin Wright picked up the phone one day to see if these rumours about an Australian colossus that had been spreading across the American football scouting community could be true.

The origin of those rumours can be traced back to the day Faalele walked into the Conquest Fitness gym in southeast Melbourne and immediately blew away the gym's director Davis Tuinauvai.

"I knew as soon as I started teaching them a few things that they had the potential to go and play (American) football, and now these college coaches see what I see and they're all flying out here," Tuinauvai told Fox Sports about Faalele and Eneasi Kavapalu last year.

Then a University of Hawaii recruiter heard about Faalele and things took off.

 

 


Soon after Faalele attended the University of Michigan satellite camp in Melbourne in June and within two months he was arriving at IMG ready to start his football career.

Technically he's still waiting, but so are the 22 Division 1 American college football programs that have offered Faalele a scholarship for next year.

With Faalele joining the IMG offensive line this year, the high school team will reportedly outweigh the offensive lines of several NFL franchises.

It all centres around Faalele and so does the public's attention when it comes to IMG - one of the top rated high school football programs in the country - despite his non-existent playing record.

Wright's used to it and so are Faalele's teammates.

"He's just one of those freakish guys that God blessed," IMG head coach Wright said.

"He's had to learn everything from what a first down is, to what a yard is, and all those things. Now he can tell you about protection schemes. He understands defenses. It's just learning the process."
 

At training.
At training.

While still trying to learn the game last year, Wright says Faalele actually requested not to play last season before he fully understood the sport.

It created some comical scenes.

"He came and said, 'Coach, can I just practice?' And he was our water boy during the games," Wright told Fox 13 News this week.

"He might have been the biggest water boy ever on record in football at any level. When he came out to get water, I'd see other teams look up at him - 'What is this guy doing?' Now it's an opportunity to play."

It will have been more than 12 months in the making when he will finally get a chance to make his IMG debut. The season begins in August, but Faalele and his family have not been in any great rush.

They are more than happy just seeing him find his own way.
 

Family over everything

A post shared by Daniel Faalele (@daniel.faalele) on

Even more than that, Faalele's mum, Ruth, revealed Daniel is just happy playing a sport where he doesn't feel guilty roughing up opponents.

She told Sports Illustrated earlier this year her son became seriously disenchanted playing rugby union and AFL in Melbourne because of the complaints made against him for his physical presence on the field.

He was sick of belting blokes. Not any more.

"Now, he's able to just release all that," Ruth told si.com.

"He must have been enclosed for so long. Now he's playing a sport where he can just explode. In fact, he's required to. That's why I think he's loving it."

That's all she cares about too.

He may be a force to be reckoned with, but Daniel is still her baby.

Once upon a time he actually was a baby, but it didn't last long.

Ruth said Daniel was already 1.83m tall and tipped the scales at 100kg when he turned 12-years-old.

 

Actions speak louder than words🗣

A post shared by Daniel Faalele (@daniel.faalele) on

Ever since then his freak frame has moulded closer and closer to the perfect footballing physique.

"He's just a freak of nature, obviously," IMG strength coach David Ballou told ESPN earlier this year.

"As thick as he is and as big as he is, you wouldn't expect him to move like he does.

"He's a powerful dude, but he's had limited strength background before coming here. From our perspective, his training age is 1. He's an untapped gem."

Not any more.

The interest in Faalele means that the race to secure his services at a college football level is an ongoing saga the likes of which you see regularly in the NFL.

Some of the best College football teams in America have put offers to him and he's right now still trying to decide which of the football giants he wants to join.

University of Georgia, Tennessee and Louisiana State University are the three front-runners in the race, Faalele said recently.

But more importantly than following the textbook path of joining a respected college football program and then nominating for the NFL draft in a couple of years, Faalele is having fun.

Remember, at 17-year-old, that's what comes first.

"I love football," he said this week.

"Just dominating the other team. Dominating one on one. Just me against the D-end. Run block, pass block. It's just a feeling that I can't explain. It's just a feeling of feeling great."

News Corp Australia

Topics:  daniel faalele football nfl sport



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

Millions missing from Gympie region in lost super

HOW TO FIND YOUR LOST SUPER: Kym Edgar of Gympie's Reg Leis Insurance and Financial Services said yesterday an easy option for finding lost super was to log in and use your MyGov account.

Finding your super is not as hard as you think

LED spinner recall prompts warning from father

Teenager holding the fidget spinner device

This product's popularity may come at a high price.

Can not put a price on Sunrise national exposure

Great publicity and exposure for our region

Local Partners

19 dead, 59 injured after nail blast: Ariana Grande concert

NINETEEN people have been killed and at least 59 people have been injured following a terror attack in Manchester

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

Seven Year Switch: The boner to end all boners

Johnny’s outraged over claims he has a cracked boner.

She gulps. Her face says it all.

Bay to star in Hollywood shark thriller ‘Cage Dive’

Cage Dive, written and directed by Gerald Rascionato, is now screening in the United States of America. It had scenes filmed in Hervey Bay.

And our visiting humpback whales also make appearance.

Celebrity sex tapes: Where does all that money go?

Basically, did Paris and Kim earn fortunes from their videos?

Cher, 71, and Celine Dion wow world at Billboard Awards

“I’m 71 yesterday and I can do a five-minute plank, OK.”

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Deputy Premier makes massive call on controversial sand mine

Aerial view of the proposed Forest Glen sand mine.

BREAKING: State Government makes huge call on Coast sand mine plans

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!