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Michael Tauiliili LB Duke 5'11 231 4.77

By: Robert Davis

Tauiliili made an immediate splash for Duke, racking up quite a few post season honors as a freshman. He was named All ACC 1st team, Defensive Freshman of the Year, and was a Freshman All American after totaling 92 tackles, ten for loss, and a sack. As a sophomore he had 94 tackles, ten for loss, and half a sack. Tauiliili became more of a playmaker as a junior picking off three passes to go with 108 tackles, 13 for loss, and a career high four sacks. He saved his best for last, tallying a career high 140 tackles, 13 for loss, half a sack and four interceptions.


Tauiliili has a motor that does not quit. He is not satisfied unless he is in on the tackle. He possesses tremendous football instincts and is always around the action, even if he doesnít get credited with the tackle. Tauiliili is physical and not afraid to crash the line of scrimmage to stuff the run between the tackles. He quickly reads the action and has the speed to run sideline to sideline and make plays on the perimeter. His natural instincts also put him in position in coverage, and he always knows where the ball is. His aggressiveness and desire to hit people will make him a great fit on special teams, which ultimately could be where his future is decided.


Size is the glaring weakness in Tauiliiliís game. He lacks the height and bulk to be an every down linebacker, and it takes him out of certain schemes. He lacks the power at the point of attack and will be taken out of the action once a blocker gets his hands on him. This limits his overall effectiveness because he can be taken out of so many plays.


Tauiliili is one of those guys that just gets the job done because of sheer will and intelligence. He has to be downgraded as far as the draft goes because of his lack of size, but he is the type of player you canít discount on Sundays. He plays a lot like Zach Thomas, and heís had a long, productive career. It may be hard to duplicate that type of success, but Tauiliili could find a role in the NFL, even if it is as a special teams ace and reserve linebacker. He was named the Defensive MVP of the East/West Shrine game in January, but he was not invited to the combine.

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