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Talanoa Hufanga declares for NFL Draft after All-American season for USC football

Alicia de Artola
Dec 30, 2020, 5:04 AM PST
USC football safety Talanoa Hufanga. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)
USC football safety Talanoa Hufanga. (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)
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USC football safety Talanoa Hufanga is leaving for the NFL Draft

Talanoa Hufanga is ready to start his pro career.

On Wednesday, the All-American safety announced his decision to leave USC football for the NFL Draft.

“After much thought and discussion, I have decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft,” Hufanga said in a Twitter graphic released by USC. “My experience over the last 3 years have been some of the greatest of my life and I will cherish them forever. These unforgettable memories couldn’t have been made possible without the support of so many special individuals.”

Hufanga went on to thank the Trojans family, his coaches, USC’s support staff, his teammates and his family for their support over the years.

Talanoa Hufanga completed a great career with USC football

Hufanga was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year after an outstanding 2020 campaign with the Trojans. He was undoubtedly the best player on USC’s defense, whether fulfilling his role as a safety or sliding up to fill in as a linebacker. National voters took note as well, naming him an All-American in multiple publications.

Appearing in all six games this season, Hufanga led the lead in tackles with 62 and interceptions with four. He also had 5.5 tackles for loss including three sacks.

Comparisons to Troy Polamalu seem fair at this point, but the true test for Hufanga will come in the NFL, where he will hope to continue walking in Polamalu’s shoes.

Hufanga’s NFL Draft prospects are somewhat muddled though. His injury history in his first two seasons with the Trojans will create a definite concern. A strong NFL Combine will be key to determining whether or not a first-round grade is possible.

The Trojans have now officially seen three players declare for the 2021 draft. Jay Tufele opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the pros. Alijah Vera-Tucker declared his intentions to enter the draft earlier this week.

Next. Markese Stepp Enters Transfer Portal

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