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USC adds Utah graduate transfer DT Steve Tu'ikolovatu

Utah graduate transfer defensive tackle Steve Tu'ikolovatu commits to USC.

USC has picked up a big and big-time commitment in an area of need. 

Graduate transfer defensive lineman Steve Tu'ikolovatu, who will be 25 years old in two weeks, announced via Twitter that he was "ready to get back to work" and that he planned to 'Fight On!'

A source within the USC football program acknowledged the tweet as official Thursday. 

The 6-foot-1, 320-pound defensive tackle will be eligible immediately, helping to fill the void the Trojans have at the interior defensive line positions. USC's depth was decimated by the graduation of five defensive linemen and the loss of the group's only veteran presence when Kenny Bigelow tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the spring.

Tu'ikolovatu was technically a third-string defensive tackle for the Utes this spring, but as Scout's Andrew Gorringe, who runs the Ute Sport Report site, explains, Tu'ikolovatu was a much bigger contributor than that may be perceived.

"Stevie T is not your typical grad transfer. At Utah he was the "third string" defensive tackle, but his playing time was not much less than the two defensive tackles ahead of him on the depth chart. He's an elite gap stuffer, and is excellent against the run."

Tu'ikolovatu chose USC after taking visits to Nebraska and Alabama this past spring. USC is expected to utilize a 2017 blueshirt for Tu'ikolovatu with one year of eligibility for the Trojans. 

Tu'ikolovatu played in all 13 games for Utah last year, making two starts. In 2015, he had 28 tackles, including six for a loss. Two of those were sacks. Tu'ikolovatu also was credited with two pass deflections and a QB hit. He seemed to be in the right spot often as evidenced by his four fumble recoveries. He returned one of those 37 yards for a touchdown against Fresno State. 

He had eight tackles in 12 games in 2014 after not playing the previous season due to the foot injuries. He graduated from Salt Lake City (Utah) East High School in 2009, but after redshirting his freshman year, he spent did not return to the Utah football program until 2013. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, he served a mission in the Philippines in between. 

For more on this breaking news, stay tuned to the War Room Friday. Top Stories