Letuligasenoa Drops Weight, Builds Confidence as UW Defense Needs to Lead
Tuli Letuligasenoa sat down for a Zoom meeting and discussion centered around how everyone will see more — and less — of him during this upcoming University of Washington football season.
More, as in the sophomore defensive lineman anchoring a Husky front wall significantly reshuffled once senior Levi Onwuzurike opted out to pursue an NFL career.
Letuligasenoa, from Concord, California, has carried star-quality projections in Seattle since flipping his recruiting commitment late from USC to the UW, and the hope is he will give the Huskies another Onwuzurike.
And less, as in the 6-foot-2, 305-pound Letuligasenoa carrying some 30 fewer pounds than when he first joined the UW program. He claims this makes him a better player. He quit fast good cold turkey in the offseason, in particular tips to a Ravenna-area McDonald's restaurant.
"I found that losing that weight was a huge deal for me," he said. "It's easier on my knees and I feel like an every-play defensive lineman."
From early indications with Jimmy Lake's first team, the Huskies are going to need a big season from him and his defensive teammates to effectively launch this group.
Overnight, Lake tweeted out that the score of his Saturday night scrimmage ended up 9-6, settled by a walk-off Peyton Henry field goal. That seems to indicate no touchdowns were scored, though no one would confirm that, and that the defense had the upper hand all the way through.
"The defense definitely stepped up," Letuligasenoa concurred.
Heading into that third game-simulated event, Lake said he still has four candidates in competition for the starting quarterback job. That no one has pulled in front or been eliminated is hardly an encouraging sign.
With these offensive growing pains becoming more obvious, Letuligasenoa and the rest of the defense may have to really set the tone for the Huskies and take the pressure off the other side.
Understanding this, the thickly bearded Letuligasenoa, who roomed with Onwuzurike, has taken more of a leadership role with his defensive linemen now that Levi has moved on.
"I'm trying to be more vocal and lead by example," Tuli said. "That's what he did very well."
The good thing is the only loser so far is that McDonald's restaurant closest to Husky Stadium.
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