Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga penned an entry for ESPN the Magazine, detailing his path to the Pros that began from a small town called Waipahu in Oahu, Hawaii. Maualuga explains that he wasn't allowed to play football until the sixth grade because his dad "would always try to get my brother and me to just go to school, come home and read a book. We could never be outside playing with the other kids."
It wasn't until high school, Maualuga explains, that he began to focus on football.
I really started to focus solely on football my junior year at Eureka [Calif.] High School. At the end of my sophomore year, I began getting letters. I remember talking to Nick Saban, who was then the head coach at LSU, and he was like, "We want to offer you a four-year scholarship." Two days later, I got the FedEx, and I thought, "Wow, these are the national champions!"
Maualuga's story in college and the NFL is well-documented, but it's an interesting perspective on his rise to the NFL.