With only 22 days left until Oregon State starts fall camp, we are counting down by previewing the 25 most valuable football players that will help lead the Beavers to a successful 2016 season. We'll count-down by highlighting a new player each day until fall camp starts. To follow-up from yesterday's selection of physical linebacker Manase Hungalu, today's pick goes to new tight end, Tuli Wily-Matagi.
#22: Tuli Wily-Matagi - Tight End
After the recent departure of tight end Caleb Smith from the Oregon State program, just a few weeks before the beginning of Fall Camp, head coach Gary Andersen needed to get creative to find a replacement in the short-term for the veteran presence. He may have found that fix in redshirt freshman, Tuli Wily-Matagi.
Wily-Matagi, a former high school quarterback and one-time Utah commit, was originally recruited as a three-star athlete by Gary Andersen at Wisconsin, but the Badgers never offered the 6' 3", 220 pound Hawaiian due to a lack of available scholarships. Once Andersen completed his move to Oregon State, Wily-Matagi opened himself to a new destination within the Pac-12, leaving behind his plans to play at Utah for a new home in Corvallis.
Upon arriving on campus, it was unknown which side of the ball Wily-Matagi would find his footing or at what position. Wily-Matagi was recruited as a defensive end by many schools but he quickly found a role within the program at the tight-end spot. In an early January interview, Wily-Matagi told Andrew Nemec of the Oregonian "I feel like tight end is more of a natural spot for me. I talked to Coach Baldwin and he told me that he wanted to use me. He said that we already had the big blocking tight ends, so he wants to use me more as a receiving tight end. That was exciting to hear."
The Laie, Hawai'i native will have some big shoes to fill with the sudden loss of Smith but if there's one man that seems up for the challenge, it's definitely Wily-Matagi. Below is some high school highlight film, where the redshirt freshman displays some of his unique skill-set.
Our "Fall Camp Countdown" continues tomorrow with the #21 Most Valuable Player for the Beavers in 2016.
The List So Far:
#22: Tuli Wily-Matagi (TE)