Four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele selected USC football as his college destination on Signing Day, picking the Trojans over Utah.
Coming into January, there was genuine worry about USC’s ability to finish strong on the defensive line.
That worry was unfounded as four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele gave the Trojans another huge boost on the defensive front by picking USC on Signing Day.
Tufele chose the Trojans over home-state favorite Utah, as well as out-of-state challengers like Ohio State and Michigan.
The 6-foot-3, 297 pound defensive tackle is one of the top prospects in the country at his position, ranking No. 3 in the 247Sports composite. He’s also the No. 41 player in the country and the No. 1 prospect coming out of Utah this year.
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The reason for those high marks is evident in the way he was able to assert himself in high school, penetrating through offensive fronts with explosion off the line and the energy to finish.
USC needed defensive linemen in the 2017 class and Tufele’s signing, along with that of four-star DT Marlon Tuipulotu, gives the Trojans a better than expected haul.
Where He Fits
Tuipulotu will have a headstart as an early enrollee, but Tufele’s size and raw ability should make him a candidate for early playing time given the depth concerns USC has on the defensive front.
Slated for a role as a nose tackle or defensive tackle, Tufele should compete to replace Stevie Tu’ikolovatu in the center. Though it would be expecting too much for him to win a starting job straight away, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him become an oft-used back up in the meantime.
High School Highlights
He Reminds Us Of…George Uko
A tall, aggressive defensive tackle who is capable of playing multiple spots from three-technique to five-gap end, Jay Tufele brings versatility and explosiveness to a malleable defensive line in Clancy Pendergast’s defense. He’s excellent as both a run-stopper and pass rusher, showing lateral and straight-line quickness. The Trojans will be hoping Tufele pans out more so than the highly touted Uko.