The text messages and phone calls inundated Sam Tevi’s phone shortly after the Los Angele Chargers drafted the offensive tackle in the sixth round.
It was nearly impossible for the Utah product to keep up with the well wishes, save for one that caught his eye for obvious reasons:
“I can’t wait to get my hands on you. I’m going to shake you up on the field!”
It came courtesy of Tenny Palepoi, his former teammate at Utah who he’s now reunited with in Los Angeles.
“He and I are brothers,” Tevi said. “He texted me a lot during this whole process. Once he found out I was going to the Chargers, he texted me a bunch and threw a lot of jokes at me.”
Palepoi laughs at the texts he sent his way.
“I found out we took him from my brothers. They told me we drafted Sam, so I had to shoot him those texts. Just to congratulate him. It’s crazy how life is. We’re back together again, and I’m excited about that.”
It’s the type of good-natured ribbing an older sibling sends his younger one.
The pair have been close since the moment Tevi stepped foot on Utah’s campus as a freshman. It was Palepoi’s senior year, and he actually served as his backup on the defensive line. It wasn’t until the next season he switched to the other side of the ball.
“Sam was actually my backup his freshman year, which was my senior year,” Palepoi said. “I know him very well. He’s my little brother. He was a good defensive lineman. Very aggressive. With his length and athleticism, the coaching staff felt he could serve them even better on the offensive side of the ball. It turned out to be the right decision. It worked out well for him.”
Just like he did as an experienced senior helping out a fresh-faced freshman at Utah, Palepoi cherishes the chance to once again take Tevi under his wing.
“I’m going to teach him how to be a professional. The transition from college to the NFL (can be tough). Just the speed (alone). The nature of the game is a lot different. I’m going to teach him to keep his head down, embrace his role and stay in his playbook. Everything else will handle itself. I’ll let him know there is a reason he is here, so (he can) just believe in himself.”
Palepoi certainly believes in him, explaining he sees him one day pushing for a starting spot. Noting the rookie still needs additional refinement, he expects Tevi to turn heads immediately as long as he plays with confidence.
“Fans are going to love his athleticism. He’ll provide a lot of depth, and he’ll come in and make a run at some playing time. I do think he will. That is what I told him. Everyone’s goal is to get on the field, and he’s more than capable of doing that. He just has to get on the field and show why he was drafted. He needs to show off that athleticism.”