DT Leki Fotu, Utah

6’5” – 335 lbs.

Appeared in five games as a freshman, then started two of thirteen played the following year, going 22-3.5. Became a full-time starter the following season, posting a line of 33-5.5-3.0 over thirteen starts. Had a senior-year line of 26-7.5-1.0 as of Christmas. One of the most massive prospects in this year’s class; was listed at 300 pounds during his freshman season, having bulked up to 335 pounds since then. Plays nose tackle for the Utes three-man defensive fronts, but will often slide over to the left defensive tackle position when the team uses four linemen. At his best, is able to anticipate the snap count, explode out of his stance, and use an overhand swim move to penetrate into the A-gap and blow plays up in the backfield. Possesses the raw power to overwhelm opposing offensive linemen and reset the line of scrimmage, with the ability to discard blockers and make stops in the backfield. Has a somewhat aggressive style of play but lower-body strength allows him to anchor with ease when taking a read-and-react approach. Can lock out opponents, flow toward the ball carrier, and make tackles while engaged. However, the combination of his height and his tendency to stand up out of his stance instead of firing out can negate some of his natural strength and result in him ending up near his starting point, rather than firing out low and walking back opponents. Gives solid effort in pursuit, but range is limited by below-average straight-line speed. Can also get preoccupied with blockers and struggle to locate the ball. For a big man, plays a lot of snaps each game, remaining on the field on some obvious passing downs. Capable of slowly collapsing the pocket with his bull-rush, but as mentioned earlier, is also capable of using his swim move, thereby generating pressure with quickness. Lacks counters to win when his initial move doesn’t work. Even on snaps in which his initial rush is successful, lacks the closing burst to finish passers at a high clip. Consequently, projects as more of a rotational defensive lineman or possibly a facilitator in the passing game overall, as suggested by his four career sacks. It can be difficult judging the stock of Pac-12 nose tackle prospects, as we’ve seen the likes of Danny Shelton and Star Lotulelei going high in the first round, while other impressive players such as Alameda Ta’amu and Greg Gaines slip into the fourth. Wherever he lands, Fotu looks like an asset in the run game who offers a little bit in the passing game as well, but who could benefit from playing with more consistent leverage.

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