Jumbo-Sized Lineman NFL Ready

Taitusi "Deuce" Lutui built a reputation for power and hustle at USC, often springing Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush for yardage and then lumbering downfield in case he needed another defender walled off.

The second-team All-American offensive guard met with the Bears at the Senior Bowl, but didn't come to Halas Hall for a personal visit. However, that doesn't mean the team lost interest in Lutui, who is rated as the fourth best guard prospect by Scout.com.

The Bears have made no secret they're looking to add youth in the draft at either guard or tackle. The only questions are which position and what round.

"Would we like to get some young depth to get into the mix? Yeah, but it's got to be at the right time and the right player has to be there," said director of college scouting Greg Gabriel.

Lutui attended high school in Mesa, Ariz., but didn't qualify academically for a scholarship to Utah. He weighed nearly 400 pounds when he arrived at USC after attending Snow Junior College (Utah). Now, he tips the scales at a more svelte 330 pounds and was measured at 6-foot-3 1/2 at the combine where he ran the 40-yard dash in 5.37 seconds.

"I have always been one big boy," Lutui told reporters at the scouting combine. "When I want to, I can eat. I'm trying to cut down, but I love my rice and those carbs."

A native of Tonga, Lutui survived a major car accident when he was 6 years old that killed his sister and disabled his father.

"It was a trauma for us all," Lutui said. "I was determined after that to make something of my life. My parents were hurt, but I felt they had brought us to this country for a purpose.

"As a teenager, I had to take care of the family. I was the one paying the bills. My parents, coming from the Tongan islands, weren't too familiar with the American system."

Lutui appears to fit the Bears' mold as a physical blocker who thrives in a run-first offense. He's also versatile enough to play tackle in a pinch, excelling on the right side when Winston Justice was suspended for the entire 2004 campaign as the Trojans won the national title.

"Most teams want to dress seven (offensive linemen) on Sunday," Gabriel said. "If you're sixth and seventh guy can play more than one position (that helps his chances to be active)."

Lutui has had to overcome several obstacles on his way to the NFL. That journey will come full circle this weekend and Lutui is ready for the next step.

"Deuce is a very mature guy, already married with a wife [Pua Lutui) and a son [Inoke Liuaki Moeltau]," said Lutui's agent, Max Hannemann. "He's a true football player who's always looking for someone to knock down."


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