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For seven-plus years, football just wasn’t Brodie Tagaloa’s thing.
The current De La Salle junior tight end played the sport for one year in first grade. But he wasn’t feeling the vibe around the game following that one season, taking nearly a decade off from a game mired so deep in his family.
And then that time away from the gridiron ended, as the 6’4” and 260-pound beast decided he would reemerge in the game of football – a decision that ultimately paid immediate dividends.
“I just felt like I had the size,” Tagaloa said. “I knew I had the size. My dad never forced me to do anything. I just feel like it was on my own. I feel like I would have a good chance and an opportunity. I feel like that’s the best risk I would take.”
In the Tagaloa family, football is a sport whose roots run deep.
Tagaloa’s older brother, Boss Tagaloa, was a sensational lineman during his career at De La Salle. He was the first freshman in De La Salle history to play at the varsity level, and not only after that he became someone who registered eight sacks in each of his two final seasons before becoming the No. 95 overall recruit in the ESPN 300 for the 2016 recruiting class.
Boss Tagaloa ultimately landed at UCLA, choosing the Bruins over an offer list that spanned the entire country – including Alabama, Michigan and USC. There, he started eight games on the defensive line ahead of a move to the offensive line for his final two seasons, where he paved the way for just the eighth running back in UCLA history to register consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaigns.
Their uncle, Matt Toeaina, was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals out of Oregon in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, spending a brief stint there before moving to the Chicago Bears for the remainder of his career, making 24 starts.
“They taught me a lot,” Brodie Tagaloa said. “I’m not really with them during the college, with them at college to see how the experience is, but they’ve taught me a lot. Like don’t take anything for granted, take advantage of every opportunity and understand that it’s a blessing to have everything that we have – having offers and the opportunity to play ball at the next level.”
Once Brodie Tagaloa returned to football, the De La Salle coaching staff saw the potential from the jump and knew they had something special.
In a run-heavy veer scheme, Brodie Tagaloa hauled in four catches for 64 yards as a sophomore, with two of those going for touchdowns, in De La Salle’s run to a 28th straight North Coast Section championship and a runner-up finish to eventual national champion St. John Bosco in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division state championship game.
“My head coach (Justin Alumbaugh), I feel like he knew what he was doing, so when he put me to tight end I knew he knew what I had in me, my potential and all that,” Brodie Tagaloa said. “So it came to fruition.”
A three-star recruit by multiple recruiting outlets, Brodie Tagaloa already has an extensive offer sheet – Arizona State, California, Nebraska, Oregon, Oregon State and San Jose State.
Working with his De La Salle team and the KT Prep 7-on-7 squad, Brodie Tagaloa has watched himself develop more as a standout athlete.
“During the shutdown I actually got a little bigger, gained more muscle,” Brodie Tagaloa said. “I’m trying to maintain my weight, go down a little bit more and then maintain it. Right now I know I’m working, so I know it’s going to get down there.”
There is more Brodie Tagaloa is hoping to accomplish, whether that’s adding to his skillset as a tight end or bringing De La Salle back to the top of California – a feat the Spartans have not conquered since 2015.
“Team goal: We want to win state, like get up there and just build chemistry, not just for high school, but after that, even after tha,” Brodie Tagaloa said. “And then individual goals I would say get my speed up, just to be faster because I’m not really a speed tight end. I’m more of a blocking and all strength, but get my speed up. I know once my speed is up, I’ve already got hands. I’ve got hands. I can catch the ball, so once I get my speed up I know it’s going to be good.”
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