Snow's Tufuga getting noticed early

Snow has some talented defensive tackles this year. We've already showcased Tevita Hola and joining him in the middle of the Badgers' defensive front-four is David Tufuga (6-1, 300), a player who has a lot more to worry about than what hole a running back is going to hit. Married shortly before he graduated high school, Tufuga is motivated to succeed by his wife and two small children.

"They are really what drives me and makes me want to do well," Tufuga told recently. "I need to get my degree so that I can take care of them and that is extra motivation for me to do that extra sprint or do that extra rep. I work hard because I love football, but I also work hard because of them."

Tufuga didn't play his senior season of high school football because he was asked not to come back because he missed so many practices. While that might sound like a player who isn't responsible, that couldn't be further from the truth.

"We had a some things going on in our family that I had to take care of," Tufuga said. "I missed so many practices that the coaches took a vote and I was voted off the team by the players because it wouldn't be fair for me to play if I wasn't there.

"I was pretty upset by it and I was frustrated, but I couldn't do anything about it so I just worked on school and then I got married two quarters before I graduated."

After his graduation, Tufuga worked for a while trying to make ends meet, but the hunger for football never left so he started looking around for a place to play and see if he could earn a college degree as well.

"Snow has a really aggressive defense and it was pretty close to home so that really helped out," Tufuga said. "I'm just enjoying playing here and then I'm hoping I can move to a four-year school."

On that note, it appears that, eventually, Tufuga will have his choice of places to go. He doesn't have an offer yet, but it sure seems that's just a matter of time.

"I got a call from Texas A&M and they said they are really interested in me," Tufuga said. "Their coaches are going to come to some of our spring practices to take a look at me and some of the other guys and then I'll know a little more about how interested they really are.

Some other schools who have made preliminary contact are Colorado, Oregon State, BYU, Utah and New Mexico.

"Thos are all really good programs and my coaches said a lot more will get in things during May," Tufuga said. "I'll be patient and just wait to see what happens."

Wherever Tufuga ends up, he said he's got some criteria that will come into play so he can make a good decision.

"I want to play close to my home and my family," Tufuga said. "It has to be in a nice area for my wife and kids and I like playing in an aggressive defense. The coaching staffs will also have a huge impact on me as well."

Last season for the Badgres, Tufuga posted three sacks and 60 tackles and he said he wants to get his stats up this year and he's working hard this offseason to put himself in position to have a big season.

"I want to lose a little weight and be quicker," Tufuga said. "My bench is pretty good right now (400 pound max), but I want that to get even better too."

Wherever Tufuga decides to play ball in 2008, he'll have a lot more on his mind than just football. He'll finish up his two-year degree in December and he'll have two years to play two.

We'll have more from Tufuga as the May evaluation period gets underway.

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