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DT Tenny Palepoi "Making Most of Opportunity"

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Undrafted free agent stating his case with high motor.

It can sometimes be hard to stand out at Training Camp when there are 89 other players on the field.  But with a high-octane motor, undrafted free agent defensive tackle Tenny Palepoi has caught the Chargers’ eye.

“He’s made the most of his opportunities,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “I think that he’s flashed since the first day he’s been here.  (He’s shown) at time to wreak some havoc in there.  The most important thing up front he’s learning is that he’s got to be technique sound every play.  If you’re not technique sound, the offensive linemen are too good at this level that if you try to do it your own way and you play high, if you’re not playing the right technique up front on double-team blocks, you’re going to get blown off the ball. But he’s shown some flashes.  He’s got a bright future, but with every young player, they’ve all got a long ways to go.  They’re learning the game, the tempo of the game and the way we play.  The system and everything, but he’s getting better.”

So who is Tenny Palepoi?

He’s a 6-1, 298-pounder who was a second-team All-Pac-12 and team captain who played from 2012-2013 at Utah, recording 74 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.  Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, he totaled four tackles, displaying that potential McCoy spoke of.  Palepoi may not say much, but his game speaks volumes.

“I’m just keeping my mouth shut, my ears open and embracing my role,” he said.  “It’s been a lot of fun and I’m just doing what’s asked of me. I’ve been given a bunch of opportunities, especially early on in camp, to get a lot of playing time.  So it’s about going out there and proving yourself.  You have to prove you belong.”

One way to prove that is by going all out each and every snap, something Palepoi prides himself on.

“I want to be known for my motor,” he said.  “It helps me pressure the quarterback and collapse the pocket.  I’ve always been that way.  I don’t have the height or kind of build as most defensive tackles, so there are certain areas I have to single myself out.  Hopefully that separates me from other players and comes into play.”

Palepoi is a humble young man, so while it meant a lot that McCoy personally mentioned him, he isn’t resting on his laurels.  Instead it motivates him even more.

“It feels real good that you’re hard work isn’t going unnoticed,” he said.  “But I’ve got to keep grinding and doing more. I have to keep getting after it and try to make this roster.  I’m not satisfied yet.  I still feel like I have a lot of room for improvement and I will do whatever I can to help out this team.”

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