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  In 2019, a four-man defensive front featured four seniors in helping that Utes defense finish No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 3 nationally in rushing defense at 81.8 yards per game. Those seniors, consensus All-America first-team defensive end Bradlee Anae, left tackle John Penisini and right tackle Leki Fotu, all left for the NFL, but not much changed. The lone holdover from that 2019 front, defensive end Maxs Tupai, combined with Mika Tafua at the other end spot and a combination of Hauati Pututau, Tennessee Pututau, and Viane Moala at the tackle spots as Utah finished the five-game, COVID-impacted 2020 season No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 nationally in rushing defense at 107.8 yards per game.

A two-time All-Pac-12 selection, Tafua is a lock to start at one defensive end spot, while Tupai is a safe bet at the other end spot. Tafua and Tupai have 66 career games and 37 starts between them. Tafua has started 13 consecutive games dating back to the 2019 season opposite Anae. The two inside spots might be up for some debate as camp looms. Tennessee Pututau is the projected left tackle after starting the final two games of 2020 as a true freshman. His cousin, Hauati, started the first three games of last season and has 42 career games under his belt. - Salt Lake Tribune

(DS#14 DE) rSr/2022 DE Mika TafuaUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune



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