Since the season opener, countless players on both sides of the ball have stepped up for USC Football. Along with the superb coaching of Lincoln Riley, the team’s star power is the main reason why they are competing for a spot in the playoffs. The defense, in particular, has been phenomenal all year. Players are making things happen up front, and even in the secondary, the defensive backs are playing each game like it’s their last.
Furthermore, the former four-star recruit (247Sports standard rating) and USC stud Tuli Tuipulotu has been crushing his opponents all season long. Although Tuipulotu has been excellent throughout his time with USC, he has taken a substantial leap his junior year. As a result, Tuipulotu currently leads the nation in sacks with 11.5.
Moreover, Tuipulotu recently had another dominant outing against the Colorado Buffaloes. In line with his 2.5 tackles for loss, Tuipulotu posted 2.5 total sacks, a pass deflection, and three combined tackles. This matchup was easily one of his best this season.
In addition to his exceptional stat lines, Tuipulotu’s game is unfair due to his versatility, quick hands, and inhumane athletic abilities. Right off the line of scrimmage, he can run through the opposing offensive line and cause the quarterback to force an inaccurate throw. Not to mention Tuipulotu has faced numerous double teams through ten games thus far.
Fans should also note that the entire defense is reliant on Tuipulotu's irreplaceable impact. Because he forces the pocket to collapse so quickly, the defensive backs can adjust how they play the secondary to force turnovers. Hence USC’s 20 takeaways which ranks 14th in the entire country.
Tuli Tuipulotu’s impact often goes unnoticed when mentioning USC Football’s 9-1 record.
After evaluating Tuli Tuipulotu’s ten games for USC Football, it is safe to say that he will be in the mix for multiple defensive awards as the year goes on. He is on pace to have one of the greatest individual defensive seasons the Trojan program has ever seen. This is not normal for an athlete who stands at 6’4” and 290 pounds.
As his career moves forward, Tuipulotu will likely be among the highest players selected in his NFL draft class. Coaches and scouts will make no mistake in choosing the young star, as he can potentially transform any defense at the professional level. That said, Tuipulotu should be widely regarded as a generational talent.
Following USC’s win over the Buffaloes, Riley and his staff will need Tuipulotu’s contributions through their next game against UCLA. This contest will essentially dictate the team's postseason hopes. However, if Tuipulotu continues his outstanding play, USC will secure a spot in the playoffs and make a run at the national title.