Taitusi (Deuce) Lutui."> Taitusi (Deuce) Lutui.">

OL Taitusi Lutui, the Tongan "mountain man"

There are no mountains in Tonga, but the world's last remaining South Pacific island kingdom has produced its own "mountain man" in coveted 6' 6", 375-pound JC offensive lineman recruit <b>Taitusi (Deuce) Lutui</b>.

Though he originally signed with Utah from high school, it's open recruiting season all over again for this man-sized hulk and BYU, South Carolina, Nebraska, Arizona State, Washington and other colleges have him squarely within their radar sights.

As a LDS high school recruit, Lutui was 6' 4", weighed in at 330 pounds and was a major "get" for the Utes -- who beat out BYU for his services. When he did not qualify academically, Lutui attended Mesa Community College (Arizona) where he grew into his beefed-up body.

"Deuce was planning on going on a mission so he really didn't work out all that much," said older brother Sam, the offensive line coach at Southern Utah University.

However, don't let his weight lull you into thinking he is just another overweight and slow lineman. Lutui is literally a one-man pancake factory with surprising speed and agility.

In fact, during his freshman year at Mesa Community College, one of his smaller and leaner teammates made fun of him because of his size and weight.

Brother Sam recounted the incident: "There was this O-lineman down there that saw how big he was and started making fun of him.

"Deuce just look at him, smiled and said 'you think you're so good, do you think you can beat me in a race? Let's go outside and race.'"

The lineman accepted the challenge and Lutui beat him soundly. No other lineman has challenged or mocked him since. He shocked everyone who witnessed the mini-event and gained the immediate respect of his teammates.

His coaches say Lutui has outstanding footwork and mobility and is extremely athletic for a man his size.

Sam, his brother, added another vignette: "He and my brother-in-law where playing basketball. Both where just dunking the ball when I said, 'Hey, why are you guys playing on a 7-foot rim?'"

Glaring at his brother and accepting another silent challenge, Lutui raised the basketball rim to 10 feet. Then, with only a pair of slippers on, he did a two-handed slam dunk.

"I thought he was going to pull the backboard down," Sam recalled.

Lutui has transferred to Snow College and expects to graduate in time for next fall's recruiting class. With his sophomore football season approaching, he is working out to drop his weight down to the 340-350 pound range while increasing his speed and athleticism even more.

Brother Sam, the coach, knows a thing or two about judging and evaluating the talents of O-linemen. He was an offensive lineman at Ricks College with former BYU wide receiver Ben Cahoon, now a CFL All Pro after five years in that league.

"Deuce is now at 375 pounds and was timed at 5.1 forty by his coaches. There's no one in the NFL that has his size that can do that right now."

BYU is well aware of Lutui's imposing presence and abilities and he is squarely within their recruiting radar for 2004.

If a scholarship to play football at BYU is accepted, Lutui will join fellow Tongan countryman and consensus All American Ofa Mohetau, 6' 3", 330-pound superprep from Texas whom many recruiting experts consider the best offensive guard to emerge from the high school ranks in a number of years.

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