USC All-America DL Tuli Tuipulotu declares for NFL draft

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LOS ANGELES – Southern California All-American defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu will enter the NFL draft.

Tuipulotu, who led the FBS with 13 1/2 sacks as a junior, announced his decision on social media Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4, 290-pound edge rusher had two tackles and one sack in the eighth-ranked Trojans’ 46-45 loss to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl on Monday. He finished his college career with 21 sacks and 32 tackles for loss in 32 games.

The younger brother of USC and Philadelphia Eagles defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu, Tuli impressed as a freshman during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with two sacks and 2 1/2 tackles for loss in the six games.

It was his best last season, with Tuipulotu finishing second nationally in tackles for loss with 22. The defense matched Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Caleb Williams, Tuipulotu’s disruptive play helps a flawed defense lacking talent and depth – USC allowed 29.2 points per game and 6.5 yards per play – create timely negative plays and takeaways.

Tuipulotu received the Morris Trophy as the best defensive lineman in the Pac-12, an award voted on by players. He was also a finalist for the Bednarik and Nagurski Awards given to the top defensive player in college football and the Lombardi Award for the top offensive or defensive lineman.

Led by Williams and Tuipulotu, USC finished 11-3 and played in the Pac-12 title game and the New Year’s Six bowl in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season. The Trojans were 4-8 in 2021 when Clay Helton was fired as coach after two games.

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