Lotulelei's Star Shines Abroad

On the football field, Star Lotulelei is quick, agile, and aggressive. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end helped anchor the defensive line for the Utah 5A state champion Bingham Miners. Lotulelei recently spent a lot of time on the road. He was in Provo last week, and before that, he traveled back east to represent his home state in a national high school all-star game.

"I think on the season I had six sacks and 70 tackles," said Star Lotulelei. "I made first team all-state, all-region and I made linemen of the year. I was also selected to play in the East vs. West Bowl game."

Despite being the top defensive end in the state of Utah, Lotulelei was not selected to play in the Scout.com All-American Bowl, but he was selected to play in the East vs. West All-American Bowl where he was one of the top defensive line performers in the game.

"I went down to Florida to play in the East vs. West Bowl game," Lotulelei said. "It was a lot of fun and it was an all expenses paid trip. We stayed at the Madison Hotel in Florida and dinner and lunches were all paid for plus everything else. It was a lot of fun.

"There were a lot of good players down there, a lot of them. There was a lot of really good competition playing in the game which made it even more fun. I did pretty good in the game. I kind of started off a little slow, but once I got used to the competition and the players I was playing against, I turned it up and got better and better as the game went on. Overall, I think I did pretty good. I got a couple tackles and two sacks during the game. They didn't give any awards out for the game, but the coaches said I did a really good job and congratulated me."

Another quality D-I football prospect and fellow Bingham High School teammate is big offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga who already has a current scholarship offer from the Ducks of Oregon University. Ever since BYU's 38-8 pounding of the Ducks in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Polynesians at Bingham High School have playfully joked and teased Tuimauga about his early offer from Oregon.

"We don't really ask him about that; we just make fun of him," said Lotulelei with a chuckle in his voice. "We just make fun about that because of the [Las Vegas Bowl], but we know he's a really good player and that he'll get more offers. All the Polynesians make fun of Derek about that. It's kind of funny. I heard that Coach Crowton is down at LSU now."

According to Bingham High School Head Coach Dave Peck, BYU coaches have Tuimauga on their radar as a future O-line prospect. Lotulelei thinks if Tuimauga receives an early offer from BYU, there is a good chance he may become a Cougar.

"I think he will," said Lotulelei. "He told me that he wants to come to BYU, but you can't really tell until he's in that situation where he has to make a decision. Hopefully he'll get an offer from BYU because it would be good to play with him because he's a really good player. He started his first varsity game as a freshman."

Just over a week ago, Lotulelei went on his official recruiting trip to BYU where he and many other committed recruits were entertained by Cougar football players.

"My trip was fun," Lotulelei said. "We all had football players as our hosts. I had Jan Jorgensen as my host, and he's a really good guy. He's a funny guy and it was a lot of fun. I watched him play during the season and new he was a freshman All-American.

"During the day we all went snowmobiling. That was a lot of fun too, and I heard Eathyn Manumaleuna hit a tree. In our group it was me, David Angilau, Christian Tupou, Manaaki Vaitai, who was the first one to wreck, and a palangi [Caucasian] guy Marcus Mathews from Oregon. They were all a bunch of cool guys that I really liked and can see myself playing with in the future.

"On Saturday night we all went out to Fat Cats and went bowling and even went and played laser tag before that. I'm not sure what the place was called but it was a laser tag place, and it was me, Poppinga, Jorgensen and a couple other guys that went and played. We all got beat by some nerdy kids."

Fortunately for the "nerdy kids" it was not full contact laser tag. One recruit in particular who Lotulelei liked hanging out with was Californian defensive tackle prospect Christian Tupou.

"He's a really cool guy," said Lotulelei about Tupou. "He's a little quiet but once you get talking to him and get to know him then he opens up, but he's a really cool guy. We didn't really ask him [about committing to BYU], but we just tried to make him feel comfortable and feel like he was a part of us and get a feel for BYU."

It is no secret that Lotulelei has been doing his best to get his grades up ever since he transferred to Bingham High School. The defensive star feels like he still has some work to do, but he has a goal of qualifying next month when he takes the ACT.

"I'm still struggling a little bit, but I'm trying to push it and get my grades up to get things done so I can qualify for that scholarship," Lotulelei said. "I haven't taken the ACT yet, but I will next month. Coach Peck pushes me just as much as he did during the season for me to get my grades up. Just because the season is over he hasn't stopped doing that or given up on me. He's kind of like a dad and keeps on you about those things even though he's your coach."

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