Utah Defensive Tackle Steve Tu’ikolovatu Transfers To USC Football

Nov 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes defensive tackle Stevie Tu
Nov 7, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Utah Utes defensive tackle Stevie Tu /

Utah defensive tackle Steve Tu’ikolovatu announced his intentions to join USC football this year as a graduate transfer, giving the Trojans an important addition at a position of need.

USC football got a major addition to the defensive line Thursday night when Utah defensive tackle Steve Tu’ikolovatu indicated on Twitter that he will become a Trojan.

“Ready to get back to work, FIGHT ON!!” Tu’ikolovatu tweeted, along with a picture of himself edited into a USC jersey.

Tu’ikolovatu, who is 25 years old, originally joined the Utah program as a walk on back in 2009 but redshirted as a freshman and then took two years off to complete his LDS mission. When he returned in 2013 he had to sit out the year with a foot injury.

As a result, Tu’ikolovatu has only seen the field in the last two years despite being in the same recruiting class as the likes of Matt Barkley, Devon Kennard and T.J. McDonald in an era when Pete Carroll was still the USC head coach.

Since his debut in 2014, Tu’ikolovatu has played in 25 games for the Utes with two starts and 36 total tackles. He added seven tackles for loss with two sacks. In fact, he had four tackles, including one for loss, against USC in 2015. He also led the Pac-12 with four fumble recoveries last year.

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Though he was slated to be a third-string behind Lowell Lotulelei and Filip Mokofisi, Tu’ikolovatu is a valuable graduate transfer eligible to play immediately. His impending departure was announced back in May with Alabama and Nebraska also in the running for his signature.

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No doubt, USC could use his presence. The Trojans lost five defensive lineman to graduation after 2015 including long-time starter at tackle Antwaun Woods. Back up tackle Cody Temple was also among the departures.

This spring USC has dealt with major depth issues across the defensive line, adjusting the format of the Spring Game because of a lack of bodies up front.

Sophomores Noah Jefferson and Jacob Daniel looked set to hold the door at tackle but additional help was still required with junior college transfer Josh Fatu the only reinforcement due to arrive from the 2016 recruiting class.

Tu’ikolovatu’s size at 6-foot-1, 320 would make him the biggest defensive lineman on USC’s roster in 2016.