Rey Maualuga

ESPNDB Research | Created: Friday, March 20, 2009 | Updated: January 29, 10:41 AM ET
TeamCincinnati Bengals
Birth DateJanuary 20, 1987 (age 28)
HometownEureka, CA
Weight255 lbs.
College CoachPete Carroll
High SchoolEureka
Eureka, CA, USA
DraftedCIN, 2nd Round, 38th Overall
Rey Maualuga is a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, who selected him with the 38th overall pick in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Maualuga attended the University of Southern California and was the 2008 Bednarik Award winner as the best defensive player in the nation. Rey Maualuga is 6-feet, 2-inches tall and weighs 260 pounds.
Prep Career
After playing one season at St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, CA, Rey Maualuga moved with his family to Eureka, CA, where he starred at Eureka High School. He led his team to a perfect 13-0 record and a North Coast Section Championship as a junior. In his senior season, he recored 96 tackles (37 for loss), four interceptions, two fumble recoveries and returned a kickoff for a touchdown. He was consensus first team All-America selection, and the No. 1-ranked linebacker in the class of 2005 according to He considered LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Oregon before signing with USC.
College Career
Maualuga had an up-and-down freshman season in 2005. He played in 12 of USC's 13 games, missing only the game against Hawaii. While Maualuga was recording 37 tackles, he was playing with a heavy heart, as his father was battling cancer. Maualuga's father passed away two days before USC's appearance in the 2006 Rose Bowl. Maualuga played in the loss to Texas, recording one tackle. In 2006, Maualuga became a regular starter at middle linebacker. He played all 13 games for USC, starting 10 of them. He finished the season with 78 tackles and two sacks. He also had an interception and three pass deflections. His 78 tackles were second on the team, behind only Keith Rivers. He set a career high with 11 tackles in USC's win over Nebraska. He was one of 10 semifinalists for the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the nation. He followed up his all-Pac-10 2006 season by repeating the honor in 2007. He started 12 of 13 games in his junior season, finishing with a team-leading 79 tackles and six sacks, good for third on the Trojans defense. He capped off the season by recording three sacks against Illinois in the 2008 Rose Bowl, earning Defensive MVP honors. Maualuga made the leap from All-Pac-10 to All-America in 2008, finishing the season with 79 tackles and two interceptions. He was USC's leading tackler for the second straight season. He recorded a season-high 12 tackles in USC's upset loss to Oregon State. After the season, he was honored as a consensus first team All-America and won the Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player. He was also a finalist for the Butkus Award, which went to Aaron Curry of Wake Forest. After the 2008 season, Maualuga was invited to participate in the 2009 Senior Bowl, where he recorded three total tackles (1.0 for loss) and forced a fumble in a winning effort for the South team.
NFL Career
At the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine, Maualuga suffered a hamstring injury while running the 40-yard dash. The injury was not serious, and Maualuga did not miss any significant time from it in 2009. He was selected in the second round (38th overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Before the 2009 season, Maualuga signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati. He played 15 games for the Bengals as a rookie, finishing with 63 total tackles and three forced fumbles. He suffered a broken ankle against the Chiefs in Week 16, forcing him to end the season on injured reserve and miss the Bengals postseason.
Off-Field Issues
As a freshman at USC in 2005, Maualuga was accused of punching a student at a party. No charges were filed in the incident, which Maualuga attributed in part to struggling with his father's serious illness. On Jan. 29, 2010, shortly after his rookie season with the Bengals, Maualuga was arrested and charged with drunken driving and careless driving. Police determined that Maualuga was behind the wheel when a car struck two vehicles and a parking meter. Maualuga has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Maualuga's father, Talatonu, was serving in the US Army in Oklahoma when Maualuga was born. He lived in Hawaii until the sixth grade, when his family moved to California.
Research Notes
USC Defense Ties Draft Record
USC had 6 defensive players selected in the first four rounds, tying the common draft record set by Ohio State in 2006. USC: Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga, Fili Moala, Kaluka Maiava, Kyle Moore OSU: A.J. Hawk, Donte Whitner, Bobby Carpenter, Ashton Youboty, Anthony Schlegel, Nate Salley
Maualuga's First Start
Two of USC's top five tacklers from 2005 are banged up heading into this game. Safety Josh Pinkard is out for the season after being injured in the Arkansas game. LB Oscar Lua is questionable and won't start, with Rey Maualuga earning his 1st start at middle linebacker.
Maualuga vs Oregon
Defending Oregon's offensive attack might be more difficult for the Trojans this week. All-Pac-10 middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is probably out with a sprained right knee. Maualuga punished Oregon last year with a season-high 11 tackles. He had 12 tackles last week vs Oregon State.
Rose Bowl Faceoff
The game will feature two players who won major college football awards. Penn State senior A.Q. Shipley won the Rimington Award, honoring the nation's top center, while USC senior Rey Maualuga won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the nation's top defensive player.
USC Defense Among Nation's Best
USC Defense
2008 Season
Category Total FBS Rank
Opp Pass YPG 134.4 1st
Opp Rush YPG 87.4 5th
Opp Total YPG 221.8 2nd
Opp PPG 9.0 1st
USC Defense Shuts Down the Pass
Fewest Passing Yards Allowed
2008 Season
Team Opp Pass YPG
USC 134.4
South Carolina 159.2
New Mexico State 159.4
Tennessee 160.4
Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game
Rose Bowl Defensive Player of the Game
Since 2005
Year Player School
2009 Kaluka Maiava USC
2008 Rey Maualuga USC
2007 Brian Cushing USC
2006 Michael Huff Texas
2005 LaMarr Woodley Michigan
2008 USC Tackles Leaders
USC Tackles Leaders
2008 Season
Player Pos Tackles
Rey Maualuga LB 79
Brian Cushing LB 73
Kaluka Maiava LB 66
Clay Matthews LB 57
Bednarik Award Winners
Bednarik Award Winners
Last Five Years
2008 Rey Maualuga USC
2007 Dan Connor Penn State
2006 Paul Posluszny Penn State
2005 Paul Posluszny Penn State
2004 David Pollack Georgia