At 6-foot-6, 305 pounds and with a wing span that seems to go on forever, Josiah Maglente-Tonu is hard to miss.
This weekend, the Raiders’ all-conference right tackle is hoping it’s his play — and measurables — that get him noticed.
While the Southern Oregon University football team hasn’t played a game in nearly a month, Maglente-Tonu is set to take the field one more time before the calendar year comes to an end. The senior offensive lineman from Hawaii has been selected to play in the FCS Bowl in Daytona, Fla., an all-star game that features players from non-FBS (formerly NCAA Division I-A) schools.
“They said they had one more O-line spot left and right away I wanted to jump on it and take every opportunity to showcase what I’ve got,” Maglente-Tonu said by phone at his home in Hawaii on Tuesday afternoon. “I’m super excited and I literally can’t wait. All of last week when I was in Ashland it was so hard to fall asleep and I was just thinking about going to this game and showing what a kid from the island can do.”
An opportunity is what Maglente-Tonu now has.
The game, which will take place this Sunday, will be attended by scouts from 20 NFL, Canadian Football League and Arena Football League teams, according to the FCS Bowl’s Twitter account.
His addition to the roster was all very last minute, Maglente-Tonu says.
But, either way, he made the trip late Tuesday night from Hawaii to Florida with his dad and is ready to roll.
“I was watching film on last year’s game and from what I watched the talent is the same, it’s just knowing that I can go out with the best and compete with the best,” Maglente-Tonu said. “I want to go over there and show that guys from the NAIA can ball. And not just NAIA, but the Frontier Conference, too.”
With his big frame, it might seem like Maglente-Tonu has been an offensive lineman ever since he first strapped on football pads as a kid. But that’s not the case — you name the position and he’s probably tried it.
Yes, even quarterback.
A 2015 graduate of Saint Louis High School in Hawaii — which is also the alma mater of former University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota — Maglente-Tonu was a two-letterman at quarterback, tight end and defensive end. He focused on defensive line once he moved on to junior college ball at Arizona Western College. Maglente-Tonu played his first season at SOU as a defensive end, scoring a touchdown on a pick-6 in the Raiders’ NAIA Championship Series first round win over Dickinson State.
But this past spring is when he made the switch to offensive line — and he hasn’t looked back since.
There was a transition period, of course. But once Maglente-Tonu was able to handle what is as much of a technique-centric position as it is brute strength, the ball started rolling.
“I remember the first practice it just seemed different — and it was different, it was weird,” Maglente-Tonu said. “But as the season went on, I started to get more comfortable and learned the ins and outs and all the techniques that are used.”
“The transition was easy because of the coaches like Coach Foz (offensive coordinator Ken Fasnacht), Coach O (offensive line coach Kyle Otineru). They showed me the ins and outs of being an O-lineman,” Maglente-Tonu added. “Coach O always mentioned the Mushroom Society — you’re going to work, work, work but you’re never going to get that glory — and that’s what I’m all about. I’m going to be humble and if it comes to me then it comes to me, but I’m not going gloat about it.”
Now as he gets a chance to show what he can do in front of pro scouts, the easygoing Hawaiian is trying to keep things in perspective.
“The biggest thing is probably just put in the work and if it’s meant to happen, then it’s meant to happen,” Maglente-Tonu said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but if you put in the work now then whatever happens, happens, basically.”
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.