Profile: Nifae Lealao
Position: Defensive End
Location: Sacramento (Calif.) Capital Christian
Weight: 270 pounds
Recruiting: Stanford has been leading big for Lealao for the last year and it would have been one of the biggest recruiting surprises in a while if he chose anyone other than the Cardinal. Notre Dame, Ole Miss and Wisconsin were all in the running and on his short list but Stanford was never really threatened in this one.
What to Like: Lealao is big, athletic and can run. He’s very quick off the ball, especially for a player his size and shows the speed to chase down plays from behind, while also being very strong at the point of attack. He can take on blockers with ease, hold them off and then disengage to make a tackle. He also has multiple moves and counters to get up the field and plays with a great motor. He has obviously been well coached as he doesn’t just rely on bull rushing smaller offensive linemen, which he could easily do, he understands the game and is very reactionary. Lealao plays mostly defensive end but has a big frame and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move inside and play some tackle at the next level as well.
What may be of concern: Capital Christian doesn’t exactly play against a murders row of a schedule and Lealao has rarely been tested by anyone who can physically come close to matching up. How will he react in college when he goes up against someone with similar size and strength for the first time? It’s a mystery as Lealao didn’t attend any college or Nike Camps so there is still some question of how good he really is.
Overall Analysis: The rich get richer as Stanford has been reeling in the beef on both sides of the line the last few recruiting classes. In Lealao, the Cardinal land the top defensive end in the West and the No. 58 player nationally in the Scout 300. Lealao is someone with the versatility to move inside if he bulks up and adds more strength or be a difference maker coming off the edge. He has a ton of natural ability and when you combine it with that great size and growth potential, he could be as good as he wants to be. If his work ethic and toughness matches his talent, he’s a Sunday player for sure and an All-American candidate for the Cardinal.