Needing more bulk in the middle of the defensive line after 25-year old Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, the USC Trojans got a big boost when the top defensive tackle in the West, Jay Tufele chose the Trojans over Utah, BYU, Michigan and Ohio State. Tufele announced his commitment during a signing day ceremony at Bingham High.
"The school that I will be attending for the next four years is the University of Southern California. Fight On!," Tufele said after thanking his parents, coaches, school and community.
At 6-foot-3 and 297 pounds, Tufele moves like a 260-pounder. He has an explosive first step that when combined with his raw power was deadly against high school competition, including those at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. At the Army Bowl, Tufele teamed up with Marlon Tuipulotu to wreak havoc on interior linemen from both squads. The two, who have became good friends, will now once again get to team up...this time in cardinal and gold.
USC needed to address its vacancies in the middle of the defensive line with the departures of Tu'ikolovatu and Noah Jefferson and did that very nicely with this pickup and the flip of Tuipulotu's commitment to Washington. Tufele saw and opening and plans to come in right away to compete for a starting position.
"I know that their d-line class, they're in need of d-tackles this year," Tufele said at the Army Bowl. "I'd love to make an impact wherever I go. And USC, if I get a chance to start as a true freshman that would be awesome."
Tufele was the reigning Salt Lake Tribune Player of the Year after 120 tackles and 16.5 sacks during his sophomore and junior seasons despite constantly seeing double teams. He missed the first eight weeks of the season this year after suffering a ligament injury in his foot during The Opening Finals in Oregon, but came back to help lead Bingham to a state title.
He showed his abilities in San Antonio at the All-American Bowl, helping him earn a fifth star as he moved to No. 36 overall in the 2017 Scout 300. He is the top ranked player in the state of Utah and the No. 3 defensive tackle in the country. Last year, Bingham coach John Lambourne previously said Tufele was the best junior defensive tackle in school history. That's saying something since brothers Star and Lowell Lotulelei both played at Bingham.
Here are some quick Jay Tufele highlight clips from his week in San Antonio:
Also, check out our quick glance at the 2017 USC Trojans recruiting class to see the latest updates on who has signed.
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