Solomon Tuliaupupu was a four-star recruit coming out of Mater Dei High School for USC football in the 2018 class. (All recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports.) It wasn't until Week 1 of this year, however, until he made his defensive debut. He had made his special teams debut before, but injuries had prevented him from ever taking a snap on defense.
All the USC fans, though, knew how special of a talent he was. They were waiting for the No. 3 ILB recruit in America for his recruiting class to take the field and prove just how dangerous of a defensive playmaker he can be. He was talked about all the time within the Trojan fan base, despite him not ever playing on D yet.
He got those first snaps Week 1 vs. Rice, however, in both his defensive debut for the Trojans and Lincoln Riley's debut for the Trojans. As a team, Solo contributed to a dominant 66-14 win on Saturday. As an individual player, he played 11 snaps and made them count. Tuliaupupu had half a sack, but according to USC football reporter Shotgun Spratling of USCFootball.com, he was even better than what those primary stats will tell:
Solomon Tuliaupupu was a force for USC football at Defensive End.
Pressuring the quarterback on half of one's snaps where they rushed the passer is impressive for anyone, and not just someone making their defensive debut like USC Football's Solomon Tuliaupupu. Solo already had a heck of a game, and to do it in his debut made it even that much more awesome for the fans to see. They've believed in him the entire time.
Heck, why shouldn't they have? He was a top 10 player in the whole state of California coming out of high school, and was the No. 86 player in the nation for that 2018 class.
The best part, though, is that it wasn't just the fans who couldn't get enough of the work Tuliaupupu put in for the Trojans. It was the entire sideline, according to what Riley and Will LB Shane Lee told USC Football Team Reporter Keely Eure:
It's hard to blame them. All Tuliaupupu wanted this far into his USC career was the chance to prove himself on the field.
Injuries refused to allow for that, but now that he finally got his chance, he proved that he still absolutely is the elite talent SC brought in a few years ago. Putting it on display already in just the first game of the season was refreshing for everyone.