Lofa Tatupu. Photo by Steve KajihiroBy Steve Kajihiro and Simi Strickland

In football, your speed, height, and weight are all big factors in whether you will play at the next level.  Well, that’s what we thought.  Players like Seattle Seahawk’s Lofa Tatupu, Miami Dolphins Davone Bess, and Oregon State’s Lyle Moevao proved that size is not always a determining factor of a good football player.

Tatupu stands 5’11” tall and 225 lbs. Tatupu was once seen as being too small to play in the Pac-10 as a middle linebacker.  But, he proved that he was capable of playing at a Division I school, when he transferred after one season at the University of Maine to USC.  Tatupu proved that his size did not matter, making his mark in Trojan history as an All American.

Then it was time for the NFL draft, the typical middle linebacker would be over 6′ 2″ tall and around 240lbs.  Scouting reports indicated that Tatupu was too small at 5′ 11″ to play middle linebacker in the NFL.  Despite his size, the Seahawks drafted Tatupu in the 2nd round of the 2005 draft.

Tatupu opened some eyes and proved that if you are a true football player, height and weight really doesn’t matter.  Tatupu said, “If you can play you can play. It doesn’t matter how tall you are or how fast you are.  None of that matters, if you can play football.  If you are a true football player someone will find you…”   

Another person that opened some eyes is former University of Hawaii standout Davone Lofa Tatupu vs. the Redskins. Photo by Steve KajihiroBess.  Bess was not drafted into the NFL probably due to his slow 40 times and size.  Bess is 5′ 10″ tall, which also made him too short, as the typical receiver stands about 6′ 3″ tall.  But that did not stop Bess; he made his way onto the Miami Dolphins roster and is already making a difference on the field.  Most recently Yahoo! Sports fantasy experts listed Bess as the #28 receiver in the NFL.  

Oregon State’s starting quarterback Lyle Moevao is another example, he is listed as 5′ 11″, 220 lbs. He is not the typical 6 foot 3 inch quarterback. However, Moevao makes up for it by playing with a lot of heart and determination.

 Tatupu, a three time Pro Bowl linebacker, offered some word of advice to up and coming football players “Keep working hard. There is no such thing as good luck. Man makes his own luck. And that’s through preparation. Luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you get the opportunity you got to make the most of it.  You never know when it will come. For all those kids out there, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something…”

The next time someone tells you that you are too small or too slow to play at the next level, think of those that already proved them wrong.  Work hard and prepare for that life changing opportunity.