USC and Stevie Tu’ikolovatu

Normally, I wouldn’t write about a single transfer. There may come a day when I’m not bored during the offseason. But it is not this day. This day we write.

If you didn’t catch that reference, I am showing that I’m bored enough to have gone through the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions. Onto better things:

Stevie Tu’ikolovatu. The Silas Redd of defensive tackles.

  • Decent player? Check.
  • Thin at the position? Check.
  • Instant eligibility? Check.

You’ve seen the defensive line’s struggles last year. The beauty of football is that a single man can elevate the entire team. A good DT can draw a double-team from the offensive linemen. That frees up rush lanes for the defensive ends and outside linebackers, giving the opposing quarterback more pressure. More pressure means more mistakes for the defensive backs and linebackers to capitalize on. The better the defense works, the more chances the offense will have to get the ball. More chances equals more points. This is a slippery slope I can support. Can Tu’ikolovatu be that man—that difference maker?

Maybe. Did you just read this far for a maybe? Yes, but I think he has a good shot. Close the case! The esteemed City of Angles has given their stamp of approval!

/facetious (because /sarcasm is too mainstream).

Despite not being a starter with the Utah Utes, Stevie Tu’ikolovatu can be a huge asset to the team. Utah has had a stout defense, particular at the defensive line position group. Tu’ikolovatu has contributed to that—even against USC at some points. As noted, USC needs experience along the defensive line and Tu’ikolovatu brings that factor. In fact, he is a bit more experienced than most college players…at least in life.

The guy is actually 24, going on 25. Somehow, he managed to save some eligibility. He started at Utah in 2009 and redshirted that season. He then went on an LDS mission, returning in 2013 just to sit out with a foot injury. He actively played two seasons, rotating in for 2014 and 2015. After Utah happily invested time and energy into this player, USC swoops in to reap the benefits.

In this post-sanction reality, the logistics behind transferring and scholarships are always some of the first concerns that come up. Yet here I am answering that last. This is not breaking NCAA rules because graduate transfers are allowed to play immediately after transferring. The transfer cannot be restricted as long as they pursue a graduate degree not offered by the first school (which can easily be finagled). But what about scholarships?

USC is back up to the full 85 total scholarship player allowance, but they still have a bit until they hit that cap. So that’s not a problem. The Trojans have used up the 25 initial scholarships for the 2016 class, though. That brings us to the famed blue shirting, the latest and greatest term in a long line of the colorful college football terminology. Don’t worry, there are still less than the combinations for Oregon uniforms.

Former head coach Steve (not to be confused with Stevie) Sarkisian used it a few times and Helton continues that trend. Basically, a player starts as a walk-on, but then are “magically” bestowed a scholarship for the hard work after fall camp.

CommBro Breaker171

And wow, look at that. I just fluffed up a piece about one player transferring into a 500+ word thing. The offseason is as magical as blue shirt scholarships.

By the way, I’m really not that bored. It just fit the narrative, so I ran with it. But anyway. who’s ready for Alabama?

Oh, I guess you can have some stats because I usually throw some into the CommBro Breaker:

Year Total Tackles Solo Tackles Assisted Tackles Tackles for Loss Sacks Passes Broken Up Fumble Recovery Ints TD
2015 28 15 13 6 2 2 1 0 1
2014 8 2 6 0 0 0 0 0 0

He arrives with a touchdown under his belt! How exciting.

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