Ainuu Taua is one of the more intriguing defensive tackle recruits in the class of 2014. Out of Lompoc (Calif.) High School, Taua stands just 6'0 and weighs in at 280 pounds. But that hasn't stopped recruiting services from rating him as a consensus four-star recruit, or Arizona, Cal, Ole Miss, UCLA, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington and Washington State from offering him.
Taua can be found on Twitter @ainuutaua35
Bud Elliott, National Recruiting Analyst: People are going to knock Taua for his height, and it's a legitimate limitation in his game (he is barely 6'0"). But once you get past that, a fantastic and productive player is revealed. And it's not like Taua is the first short defensive tackle to come along and have success. His play certainly backs up his rating, as he's won the defensive line MVP of the recent Nike camp in Los Angeles and received an invite to Nike's The Opening.
Taua is an excellent athlete. Perhaps aided by being lower to the ground than some defensive linemen, he displays excellent balance. Balance is really important for a defensive lineman because it allows him to play with power while bending, and also not be overwhelmed when he is in an awkward position.
Taua understands that his game is about quickness and leverage. Short players cannot play high, and he shows the ability to play low and play at a point difficult for taller blockers to match. Taua has powerful, heavy hands, and must use them more often to get opposing blockers away from his body, as he's unlikely to be able to reach out and control them in college.
Taua could be a multi-year starter in the right college scheme, perhaps as a three-technique penetrating defensive tackle. Fit is important for every player, but particularly so for players with unique skills like Taua.
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