The coach who saw Troy Fautanu as a right tackle before Troy Fautanu saw himself as any kind of tackle says he will be just fine there.

If that’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers opt to play their 2024 first-round draft pick.

“He’s athletic enough that he could probably play any [offensive line] position, honestly,” Rich Muraco, who coached Fautanu at Liberty High School in Las Vegas, told Steelers Depot.

Fortunately for Fautanu, he won’t have to twist his mind into a pretzel while learning a handful of positions. The Steelers drafted Fautanu to play tackle. Whether it’s left or right is still anyone’s guess. Offseason practices are in the early stages. Latrobe is still two months away.

Fautanu played left tackle almost exclusively at the University of Washington. Before that, he played right tackle at Liberty — if reluctantly at first.

As a freshman, Fautanu played tight end and defensive end for Liberty’s JV team before being elevated to varsity for the playoffs. After the season, Muraco decided to make a change.

“We’ve had a pretty good history of having really good offensive linemen,” said Muraco, who has been Liberty’s head coach since 2009. “I kind of saw his future as an offensive lineman. He wasn’t real keen on that because growing up, he was a skill guy, a running back, a fullback, a tight end.”

An interesting aside: Muraco moved Fautanu to right tackle because Liberty had Brandon Yates at left tackle. Yates has since gone on to play left and right tackle for West Virginia. Next season, he will replace Zach Frazier at center. The Steelers, of course, drafted Frazier in the second round after using the 20th overall pick on Fautanu. Small world.

After Fautanu played right tackle as a sophomore, the Division I scholarship offers started rolling in. By the end of his senior season, Fautanu had almost 30 of them. One came after a Vanderbilt coach visited a Liberty spring football practice to see Fautanu in person. Imagine his surprise when Muraco told him Fautanu wasn’t practicing that day. He also played on the boy’s volleyball team and had a game.

“He went in and watched the volleyball game, came back out, and was like, ‘Yeah, I’m offering Troy. He can jump. He’s athletic,’” Muraco said.

One of Nevada’s most sought-after recruits, he signed with the University of Washington. He moved to left tackle there and became one of the best in the country and a surefire first-round draft pick.

The Steelers were elated to get him where they did. Now, they just have to figure out where the 6-4, 317-pounder fits along their offensive line. Early signs indicate that they are going to give him a long look at right tackle with the hopes of moving 2023 first-round pick Broderick Jones back to left tackle.

Muraco has no doubt that Fautanu will play at a high level if he does return to his roots. One reason for that: Fautanu did not just dominate overmatched high school players when he last played right tackle full time.

Liberty played a handful of national powerhouses during Fautanu’s time there. That included Florida schools like American Heritage, when it had a contingent of future NFL players led by CB Patrick Surtain II, and IMG Academy.

“When we played against IMG in 2017, Troy’s junior year, they probably had 10 [future] NFL players on that team,” Muraco said. “That’s when I knew Troy was going to be special. He’s always played against good competition and never got beat.”


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