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Miami's Reagan Era
David Epstein
June 18, 2007
A rookie with South Seas roots is already making an impact
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June 18, 2007

Miami's Reagan Era

A rookie with South Seas roots is already making an impact

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WHO Reagan Mauia, 22, American Samoa--born fullback drafted out of Hawaii by the Dolphins in the sixth round, then signed to a four-year contract.

YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM ... a YouTube video in which Mauia runs helmetless through a weight room wall, then bellows, "I'm the Juggernaut b----...." (Just search for his name on YouTube to see it.) Says Mauia, "I was a little worried about hitting the beams on the side."

WHAT'S WITH HIS NAME? Mauia's mother, Tagi'ifo, named him after U.S. president Ronald Reagan. "Thank God she didn't name me Ronald," says Mauia, who likes the name he did get so much that he named his now nearly three-year-old son Reagan II.

HOW HE GOT TO HAWAII Mauia was playing at San Joaquin Delta College in California when he saw Polynesian Power, a film narrated by Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson about the ascent of Polynesians in football. "I saw the Hawaii team on there and Coach [ June Jones], and I wanted to play for him," says Mauia, who then called Jones and asked if he could join the team as a walk-on.

INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BACK The 6-foot, 270-pound Mauia weighed as much as 380 pounds and was a noseguard at Hawaii until late in the 2005 season when on a lark a coach tried him in practice at fullback. "I went in and started destroying people," Mauia says. He used to eat five Jack In The Box chicken sandwiches in one sitting and ran a 5.1 40-yard dash. Now he runs a 4.8 40 and has a new favorite dish: Caesar salad, hold the dressing.

ENDURING ROOTS Mauia, one of four Polynesians who was at the Dolphins' rookie camp, mainly played rugby in American Samoa before moving to Oakland in 1995. When Samoan kids play football, he says, "everybody wants to be [ Patriots linebacker] Junior Seau [who's also of American Samoan descent]. Even if you were the running back, you were Junior Seau." And if Mauia meets Seau on the field? "I'll do my job," he says, "but I might shake his hand after the game."

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