A Guardian Angel

Eugene -- He is a tough guy that plays a tough and demanding position. A.J. Tuitlele is entering his final year at Oregon and, along with his teammates, is on the practice field preparing for the 2007 football season.

For A.J. Tuitele the time has flown by, but as he enters his senior year he remembers what it was like to be the new kid on the block. Coming to Oregon, Tuitele turned down offers from the likes of USC, but there was a price. His first summer in Eugene was not easy. He became homesick and at one point returned to Southern California for a few days during the 2003 fall camp. At the time, some worried that Tuitele would not come back to the Ducks, but he did. Since then he's had a great career, recording 107 tackles. Known as a hard-nosed player on the field, off the field he is a soft spoken young man.

Football is a rough and tough sport, but Tuitele also remembers what it's like to just arrive, not really knowing anyone and facing some lonely times. During the summer workouts Tuitele could be spotted standing near the incoming freshmen as an upperclassman looking out for the new kids. He was there to keep them going when the drills were tough and also to help them keep focused on the task at hand.

Tuitele talks about his role this year, in particular when he is looking after some of the younger guys on the roster.

Watch the video.

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