2022 Mountain West Football Top 50: #7, San Diego State DE Jonah Tavai
The Aztecs’ big defensive lineman is the top-ranked San Diego State player on this year’s list of the Mountain West’s best.
A monster on the Mesa.
Somehow, it’s always more satisfying to see a big man disrupt best-laid plans in a college football game and few had a knack for doing that more often than San Diego State defensive lineman Jonah Tavai, the 6-foot, 290-pound terror who’s the top Aztec on this annual countdown of the Mountain West’s elite.
After spending 2018 at El Camino College, Tavai carved out a role himself right away at San Diego State, appearing in 13 games the following year while making his first start. In 2020, he made five more starts in eight contests and did plenty to demonstrate his potential with 25 total tackles, six tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks.
His 2021 season, though? Oh, buddy. He kicked down the door and invited himself into offensive backfields early and often, putting up 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks along with a career-best 47 total tackles. That added up to a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 83.3 which ranked first among all interior linemen in the Mountain West.
While the Aztecs now face the challenge of replacing a handful of NFL Draft selections and defending their West division title, Tavai should be one of the main anchors that holds the fearsome defense together for another year.
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) November 26, 2021
— San Diego State Football (@AztecFB) December 22, 2021