Maea Teuhema didn’t receive the warmest of receptions when he first transferred to Southeastern Louisiana from LSU in August.
The junior offensive lineman arrived in Hammond a week before the Lions opened the season at Louisiana-Lafayette and was almost immediately thrust into the starting left tackle position.
Coming from LSU as a former top recruit, his quick ascension up the depth chart wasn't surprising.
Teuhema was projected to start for LSU this year and coach Ed Orgeron this week called the loss of Teuhema a “blow to the offense” forcing the Tigers to rotate a pair of true freshmen at the spot through the early portion of the season.
Everyone knew his ability would be an asset, they just weren’t sure if his personality would be one, too.
“Everyone thought I was going to be an (expletive),” Teuhema said. “I was like, 'Man, I’m just trying to play football just like you.' They thought since I was coming from LSU I was going to be an (expletive). But I’m not like that.”
But there was one player who knew Teuhema wouldn’t be a jerk — Southeastern linebacker Sione Teuhema, his brother.
Sione was a transfer from LSU, too. He left the Tigers during the spring of 2016 after a suspension for violation of team rules.
He thought he’d never play with his brother again.
But then Maea had his own troubles in Baton Rouge, eventually deciding to leave during preseason camp because of academic issues, he said.
It was an unfortunate departure, but there was one bright spot to it.
Maea and Sione spent their whole lives together from middle school to high school to signing with LSU, and when Maea decided to leave the Tigers, it only made sense for them to reunite once again.
“It’s like old times,” Sione said. “Since we were little playing together in high school, middle school and then we went to LSU and now we’re just back here at Southeastern. It feels normal.
“It’s a lot of fun seeing him on the other side of the ball, seeing him practice hard. I get to watch him again, tell him what he’s doing wrong and what he needs to work on, getting to see him every day at practice.”
Heading into Saturday’s game at Northwestern State, Maea has been fully accepted by the team since his bumpy arrival.
He has proved to be as hard a worker as players who have been in the SLU program for years.
It wasn’t easy learning a new playbook in a week, but Maea and Sione will often stay late after practice to get in extra work.
Maea said he had to work hard from the first practice to prove his new teammates’ preconceived ideas wrong.
So far, he’s succeeded, in no small part because of his brother’s help.
“They’re both really good players and really good people and are both working extremely hard,” SLU coach Ron Roberts said. “They’re both leaders of our football team and huge parts of our program.
“It brings a little more meaning to it when you have family members (on the team),”
Both players found a second chance in Southeastern.
Maea has thrived at left tackle so far, securing an already veteran line that allowed all of four sacks this year, tied for the 19th fewest in the FCS. The Lions also have the No. 11 rushing attack, averaging 275.5 yards per game.
Sione was named preseason, second-team All Southland despite being held back by a lingering knee injury for most of last season. He is tied for the team lead with 30 tackles in 2017, including 4½ for loss and two sacks. He also has three quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.
The Teuhema brothers are finally having success at SLU.
“My parents are happy,” Sione said. “They didn’t want to do where one of them goes to one game and they split up. Now they can both come to just one.”