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Tialavea attended West Jordan High School in West Jordan, Utah. During his high school football career, he also played on the offensive and defensive lines. In addition to being a three-year letterwinner in football, Tialavea was also a three-year letterwinner in basketball and baseball.
Tialavea appeared in 40 games for the Utah State Aggies. He ended his college career with 198 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
After being released by the Jaguars, Tialavea was signed to the Buffalo Bills practice squad on September 2, 2014. He was released by the Bills on September 30, 2014.
Tialavea was signed to the Falcons' practice squad on November 24, 2015. After spending almost two seasons on the practice squad, he was promoted to the active roster on December 22, 2016. In his NFL debut two days later against the Carolina Panthers, Tialavea caught a touchdown for his only reception of the day.
D.J.'s parents are Don and Tami Tialavea. He has two sisters. Tialavea graduated from Utah State with a degree in sports management in 2013, and then a master's degree in education in 2019, also from Utah State. D.J. is also an Eagle Scout.