USC Football DL Tuli Tuipulotu is the best defensive player on the squad, and a MASSIVE bright spot in what was an awful 2020 recruiting class. The three-star recruit (247Sports) has proven to be much more than a three-star football player, totaling 48 tackles last season to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
Tuipulotu posted two PD's last year, forced two fumbles, and had a highlight-reel scoop and score. He's considered one of the best D-linemen in the country for a reason. He's outperformed expectations coming into his career at SC, and one thing that would add to his already solid resume would be a Chuck Bednarik Award.
That's the award given to the most outstanding defensive player in college football. He'll have the chance to make his case this season, and he was placed on the watch list for the award last week:
USC Football's Tuli Tuipulotu is one of the 90 players on the Bednarik Award Watch List.
Sure, that means that USC Football DL Tuli Tuipulotu clearly has quite a bit of competition for this level of recognition. Considering that Tuipulotu has already overachieved to get to this point, however, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise if he really contended for this award. The issue, of course, will be how many double-teams he draws.
If Korey Foreman doesn't have the breakout year USC fans are hoping to see from him, and Nick Figueroa and Brandon Pili fall back into durability issues again, offensive lines may have no choice but to double Tuipulotu. In that case, it may be a little tough for him to put up strong stats.
Regardless, though, Tuipulotu proved last year that he can succeed even if things do go south. The man survived whatever dumpster fire one wants to call 2021. It's highly doubtful that he doesn't take another step this season.