Nifae Lealao - Football - Vanderbilt University Athletics

#77 Nifae Lealao


Class Senior
Height 6'5"
Weight 312
Hometown Sacramento, Calif.
High School Capital Christian

2016 SEC Academic Honor Roll
2014-15 Freshman SEC Academic Honor Roll

Lealao earned starts in 11 of 12 games in his final year as the Commodores’ top interior defensive tackle… While facing constant double-team blocks, finished with 23 total tackles, a single-season high… Also posted eight solo stops, four tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries and three deflected passes… Registered a season-high five tackles against Kentucky… Had three stops and returned a fumble for 15 yards against Georgia… Also contributed multiple tackles against Alabama A&M, Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri.

Lealao had a superb season in his third year as an interior defensive lineman for the Commodores… Starting 11 of 13 games at nose tackle, Lealao established new career highs with 15 solo tackles, 22 total tackles, four tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks, three defensed passes and a fumble recovery… Registered a career-high six solo tackles and a fumble recovery against Kentucky… Produced sacks versus Tennessee State and Missouri… Added tackles for loss in conference games against Florida, Georgia and Ole Miss.

Lealao enjoyed his best season as a sophomore defensive lineman… Lealao played in all 12 regular season games, earning starting assignments at nose tackle against late-season SEC foes Florida, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Tennessee… Showed improvement and greater confidence with each game played… Posted game highs of nine solo tackles and 18 total tackles during the season… Career high of four total tackles came vs. Georgia… Capped year off with three solo stops at Tennessee… Also contributed a blocked field goal at Ole Miss.

Lealao was the only true freshman to see action on the interior defensive front, serving as a reserve to veteran defensive tackle Vince Taylor…Named Third Team Freshman All-America by Athlon Sports… Saw action in nine games… Finished the season with seven total tackles and one fumble recovery… Posted pair of tackles against Temple and South Carolina… Contributed fumble recovery at Kentucky.

High School
Multi-year captain and four-year starting defensive end… First freshman at school to start on varsity… During four-year career, registered 58 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback sacks, more than 200 tackles and 17 blocked kicks… As senior starter, helped Capital Christian to 9-2 record and state playoffs, earning First Team Cal-Hi Division V All-State honors and MaxPreps First Team All-America DL recognition… Named Cal-Hi Sports Division V Athlete of the Year as senior… Two-time All-Metro, All-County and All-Conference honoree in football… ESPN 300 member who participated in postseason U.S. Army All-American Game… Also was a standout on three other varsity squads – All-State recipient as center in basketball, thrower in track & field, and member of volleyball team… High academic achiever who was inducted National Football Foundation Sacramento Valley Chapter Hall of Fame.

Nifae Penitala Lealao Jr… Born Aug. 16, 1995… Son of Mary and Nifae Lealao Sr… Dad is a senior technician; mom works in the medical field…. Became team’s first scholarship player of Polynesian heritage, starting a Poly pipeline to Nashville that included five teammates in 2017… Expected to complete a degree in Sociology in May 2018… Dean’s List recipient… Enjoys singing… Wants to become an entrepreneur.

Career Highs
Total Tackles: 6, at Kentucky, 10/8/2016
Solo Tackles: 6,at Kentucky, 10/8/2016
Tackles for Loss: 1.5, vs. Tennessee State, 10/22/2016
Fumble Recoveries: 1, (2x) last vs. Georgia, 10/7/2017

Nifae Lealao action shot 10-02-15