UCLA Football: Laiatu Latu Explains Decision Behind Picking New Numbers with Colts

The former UCLA star edge rusher explains the reasoning behind picking a new number with the COlts.
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Laiatu Latu poses after being selected
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Laiatu Latu poses after being selected / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Laiatu Latu, a former UCLA All-American edge rusher and now an Indianapolis Colt, is poised to significantly impact the league, building on his stellar performance at UCLA. 

As Latu prepares to make his professional debut, a crucial step awaits him: selecting his jersey number. This new phase in his career brings with it a new number, and Latu has chosen to sport the No. 97 as a Colt.

During his two years at UCLA, he was a force to be reckoned with, sporting the No. 15. However, for his new journey with the Colts, Latu has decided to embrace a '90s number, a choice influenced by the Colts' director of equipment, affectionately known as 'Frog.' In a recent interview, Latu shares the story behind his new number selection. 

In the clip, you can hear Frog mention numbers 93 and 98. Those, of course, are the numbers of legendary Colts pass rushers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. These two Colt legends caused a ton of problems for opposing offenses, and they did it together for most of their career. 

Freeney, No. 93, is a college and pro football Hall of Famer who helped lead the Colts to a win in Super Bowl XLI. On top of that, he was a seven-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro, and member of the Hall of Fame All-2000s team. 

As for No. 98, Mathis spent his entire career as a Colt. He also helped lead Indianapolis to the Super Bowl XLI title and notch a first-team All-Pro selection, five-time Pro Bowler, and three-time NFL forced fumbles leader. He holds the record for most career-forced fumbles with 54. 

Latu will look to make his legacy as No. 97 with the Colts. He'll have some big shoes to fill, but if anyone could do it, it's the first defensive player taken in the 2024 NFL Draft. 

Look out for No. 97 this upcoming NFL season. 

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Ricardo Sandoval