Complacency became the norm for Solomon Matautia as a football player. That was, however, something inside of him changed.
“I think before, I kind of just stayed complacent and just OK with being alright,” he said. “But now that I’ve seen the potential that I had in myself and it just put a lot more confidence in me. And now I know what I can do.”
Named the team’s Coach Dave Holmes Most Improved Player last season, Matautia didn’t let good enough be good enough as he accumulated 85 tackles (50 solo, 35 assisted) to be the team's second-leading tackler.
The redshirt junior racked up 4.5 tackles-for-loss, one sack, two forced fumbles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns. To say the least, Matautia was everywhere on the field.
Paired with senior Jahlani Tavai in the linebackers unit for the Rainbow Warriors, Matautia is looking to take another step in his development. Head coach Nick Rolovich said last week that Matautia didn’t just improve on the field as a player, but also as a person and a student, making the biggest leaps in development in his outlook on education.
But things won’t be as easy for Matautia and the Warriors this season as the defense has a new defensive coordinator in Corey Batoon, whose new defensive scheme will look to create more opportunities for Matautia and company to make game-changing plays.
While complimentary of Matautia’s skill-set and leadership qualities, Batoon understands that he still has a ways to go to build off last season.
“He’s a veteran type of guy, he brings that type of leadership in terms of being vocal out there,” Batoon said. “But again, it’s all new for him,” he said. So they’re still trying to feel their way through the system, but I’ve been very happy with their progress so far.”
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