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ZTF Tackles Important Subject: He's Coming Back

The Husky edge rusher had to get comfortable with the new coaching staff first.

It took Zion Tupuola-Fetui a lot longer to determine his next step than it does getting to a quarterback.

Yet on Tuesday, the University of Washington edge rusher finally confirmed his commitment to the new coaching staff, declaring on social media that he was returning for the 2022 season.

The player known as ZTF represents one of the two or three best football players that Kalen DeBoer inherits, so this was highly encouraging news for the newly hired Husky leader.

"After getting to know the new coaching staff, this is definitely the place to be," he tweeted. "I BLEED PURPLE."

A 2020 first-team All-Pac-12 selection, Tupuola-Fetui could have gone straight into the NFL draft, but indicated he wasn't ready for the next level just yet when he went home to Hawaii for Christmas.

However, he teasingly left it open that he might not return to the Huskies, that he had other decisions to make.

After all, ZTF now answers to his third UW head coach after Chris Petersen retired and Jimmy Lake got fired in advance of DeBoer taking over. He had to get comfortable with the new staff before making any promises.

Zion Tupuola-Fetui celebrates a sack at Arizona.

Zion Tupuola-Fetui celebrates a big play in Arizona.

While highly regarded and considered a surefire pro prospect, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound ZTF needed to play another year of college football somewhere. He still hasn't turned in a full season as a starter for the Huskies. He has just 31 career tackles.

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Last fall, Tupuola-Fetui was limited to five games and three starts after tearing an Achilles tendon in spring practice. He missed the first five outings on the schedule before he was cleared to play again and then suffered a different injury and sat out against Colorado and Washington State.

In 2020, ZTF started all four games of the pandemic-shortened season and drew a lot of attention to himself by collecting 7 sacks and causing 3 fumbles in the process. Yet it still was just a month of football.

ZTF has a pensive moment in Arizona.

ZTF has a pensive moment in Arizona.

Before that, ZTF was a 12-game sub for the UW, but playing only sporadically as a redshirt freshman.

In 2018, the then true freshman from Pearl City, Hawaii, appeared in just the season opener against North Dakota and the season-ending Rose Bowl against Ohio State. 

Twelve or more games of Tupuola-Fetui as a starter could be really something to see. 

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