By Andrew Gorringe
Prior to his commitment to Utah, nobody outside of the Utah coaching staff knew much about Herriman High School defensive end Leki Fotu, but it didn’t take long to figure out one thing about him, he is a big time prospect. Fotu committed to the Utes back in the summer of 2015, after Utah was the first school to offer him, and that commitment and his resulting play caused him to blow up on the regional recruiting scene, attracting the attention from some of the best programs in the country. Schools like USC, UCLA, Oklahoma State and BYU threw their name in the hat for Fotu’s services late in the recruiting cycle, and Fotu expressed the most interest in the USC Trojans, as he took an official visit in late January to Los Angeles. A visit the following week just 45 minutes north of where he lives though to the Utes sealed his commitment, as he assured the Utah coaching staff that he would be signing with them
Go find Fotu on the football field or basketball court at Herriman HS, and the first thing that will stand out about him is his size. When he visited USC officially, they took his measurements, and he checked in at 6’6-280lbs. That size makes it easy to understand why so many programs were interested in Fotu, but it wasn’t only just because of his size. Fotu had a breakout senior season, after a pedestrian junior year which happened to be his first season ever playing football, as he totaled 82 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 19 TFL’s and 5 pass deflections. Not bad for someone that is more accustomed to playing rugby than football. Not only is Fotu impressive on the football field, but he’s a big time player on the rugby pitch as well, as he has aspirations of playing for the national team. Getting back to football, Fotu showed tremendous improvement in 2015, as he learned proper technique from his defensive end spot, and really learned how to utilize his size against opposing defenders. It also helped that he has great strength and speed.
If you ask most college coaches to describe the perfect defensive end prospect physically, I’ll bet most essentially describe the make up of Leki Fotu. You just don’t find prospects his size that move as well as he does every day, and he has arguably the highest potential of any 2016 Utah signee. Defensive line coaches Lewis Powell and Sione Pouha will be as happy as kids in a candy store while working with Fotu, as they will need to help refine his technique and get him more acclimated to the game of football, but the potential is sky high for him. It’s hard to imagine that Fotu spends the 2016 season redshirting, but it is something that is possible, as a lot will depend on his performance in fall camp. It’s safe to say though that he has a bright future as a Ute.