What did the Falcons get with that jump up the draft pick ladder?
As Hebron High School’s District 6-5A Defensive Player of the Year, Maponga was also the first player in the history of Hebron to play for TCU. A senior season with 71 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hurries helped him get there.
After redshirting in 2009, Maponga made his TCU debut in 2010, with impressive results. He started 12 games, and his 32 tackles with 2.5 sacks contributed to his second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection. Four of those tackles came as part of the victory over Baylor. He recorded five tackles each at SMU and Air Force, respectively. Nine of his games yielded multiple tackles; the mark of Maponga had only just begun.
Maponga continued onward and upward in 2011. He ranked in the top 10 in forced fumbles and top 20 in sacks, only one of four players in the nation to do so. His name was at the top of most of the defensive team rankings as well, with 55 tackles, nine sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Nine of those tackles came in the last game of the season against UNLV.
The progress slowed a bit in 2012 when Maponga was sidelined for two games by a foot injury, but the slowdown was only slight. He made nine starts in 11 games, and recorded 26 tackles for the season. His outstanding performance in the games he did participate in brought new accolades in the form of, at long last, being selected to All-Big 12 First Team.
At 6’2” and 256 pounds, Maponga isn’t one of the biggest defensive ends in the NFL. Where most people make their mistake is judging him strictly on his size. Luckily, Dimitroff didn’t make this grievous error. Maponga’s full potential hasn’t yet been realized, but it will be in the future…with the Atlanta Falcons.