Levi's a Dominating Presence

College of San Mateo Defensive Coordinator Tim Tulloch spoke with RaiderPower.com about 6-foot-4, 355-pound defensive tackle Rika Levi and what an imposing figure he is both on and off the field. Though Levi was recently offered a scholarship by Oregon as of Monday afternoon he said he was still committed to Texas Tech. Somebody is getting a very talented defensive tackle.

Rika Levi is obviously a gifted athlete, but what is your overall evaluation of him after coaching him for a couple years?

Tulloch: Obviously, the measurables are impressive with a guy 6-2, 6-3, 355-360 pounds who just dominates the interior of the line of scrimmage. When you are that big, that strong and play with a low pad level, have a passion for the game, it changes what happens on the inside. So, that's why he was voted an All-American, NorCal Player of the Year and all of that.

He's athletic for a big guy, he's a lot better pass rusher then you'd think for a guy his size, but he's cut from the same cloth as Vince Wolfork, B.J. Raji and all of those types of guys. If he continues to develop he has the chance to be one of those types of guys. He's done a great job in his two years here. He's training with us every day, the kid has unreal passion on and off the field, he's our undisputed leader and he's just competitive a kid as we've had since Julian Edelman.

You mentioned he has improved a lot since he arrived. Where has he improved the most?

Tulloch: Well he's lost a fair amount of weight; he came in at 400 pounds and he got down to 355, which is not easy to do for anybody. I think just his pad level, his quickness off the ball, he's very smart; he has a great understanding of the game, he understands formations, backfield sets and how to attack them, where the protection is going to turn and where the double team is going to come from. You'll see him set things up based on formations as the game goes along and take advantage. So, he does a great job because he's a smart football player.

What does he need to work on the most to be successful at the next level in your opinion?

Tulloch: He just needs to continue what he's doing. Every day he needs to be explosive off the ball, every day work on physically training to get in great shape, continue to grow his mental part of the game. I just look forward to watching him play. His upside is tremendous and if he continues on the slope that he's going, I think he's a guy who is playing on Sunday's.

What do you think his ideal playing weight is?

Tulloch: In a perfect world I'd like to see him at 335-340. At 360 he can jump up and grab the rim on a basketball court, which is explosive, and then he can also turn around and take a telephone book and rip it in half with his hands. He has some God-given tools that you don't find every day.

Coach is there any interesting tidbit or anecdote, other than the one you just shared, about Levi that fans would be interested in that doesn't come across on the scouting report?

Tulloch: I mean he's just one of those kids who hates to lose at anything. When we're doing scouting report trivia or we're playing cards or fun little games, like after practice we'll throw and try and hit the goalpost, and that kid hates to lose at anything. He led the Haka for us. He's just always going and his mind just goes and goes and goes. He just wants to be the head of anything and everything he does and puts his passion into it. He's a special kid and we're excited for him.

Coach, anything I'm missing you would like to add?

Tulloch: No, no. Well, you know in the California all-star game coming out of high school he (laughs), he ripped 12 telephone books in a row, just ripping it out, where he got a funny reputation for doing that.

Wow. Well, that would get my attention. Especially, doing that and then transitioning and jumping up and grabbing the rim at that size. That's amazing.

Tulloch: Yeah. We were just standing there training in the gym that day and he just jumped up and grabbed it down. My jaw just dropped (laughing) and I said to another coach ‘did you see that.' It was amazing

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