USC Football: Former Trojans DL Being Tasked With Massive Role After All-Rookie NFL Season

Will he be able to take that next step?
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The USC Trojans have put multiple quality players in the NFL throughout history, including this upcoming NFL season. The Trojans long line of talent that runs to the league is well known and it's helped the Trojans in recruitment somewhat.

One of the better players to come from the Trojans of late is defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu, who was taken in the second round last season by the Los Angeles Chargers. Tuipulotu did well for the Bolts, despite the lack of success that the team had overall.

Now heading into his second season after an All-Rookie year, Tuipulotu will be thrust into a massive role where the team will be counting on him more. Alongside Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, Tuipulotu did very well and he is the future of the defensive line for the Chargers.

Daniel Popper of The Athletic ranked the most important players for the Bolts next season and Tuipulotu made the cut.

"Tuipuilotu enters his second season as the third edge rusher on the depth chart. This trio is the best weapon new defensive coordinator Jesse Minter has in his arsenal. Tuipulotu, Bosa and Mack can all move around. And deploying these three in the right spots can create one-on-ones and mismatches. Last season, Tuipulotu, Bosa and Mack were on the field together for 42 opponent dropbacks, according to TruMedia. The Chargers produced 10 sacks and a 61.9 percent pressure rate on those dropbacks. First and foremost, these three rushers must stay healthy. And I think Minter can use them as the engine of his defense, particularly on third downs and in other known passing situations."

Last season, he posted 53 total tackles and 4.5 sacks. But his presence along the line was what made him so dominant. His ability to create pressure helped the Bolts and the former USC star made his mark.

He will be given a much larger role this year and much of the success of the Chargers' defense will be on him taking that next step. If he can develop even more, the Chargers will be in great shape for the future.

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Matt Levine


Matt earned a Master of Science degree in Sport Management from Louisiana State University in 2021. He was born and raised in the Los Angeles area, covering all Southern California sports in his career.