Star Lotulelei   NT        Utah     There are a few teams that remain cautious about the red flag that was raised at the combine when a heart issue was discovered. Nonetheless, Lotulelei has received medical clearance and stays near the top of my board. A good athlete who is tough, competitive and extremely active until the whistle. Is versatile, aligning in multiple spots and capable of playing 3-4 (NT) and 4-3 (1-tech) schemes. Lotulelei has all the positional attributes, not to mention the skill set, for the next level. He is physical and violent, and his motor runs fast. Very good step and punch; a run-stuffer to two-gap and stack POA (point of attack) with leverage; burst off shed and lateral chase and pursuit. Has powerful and violent UOH (use of hands); double and single arm bar explosion to attack offensive center and guards; good hand combat to pull/jerk cloth, arm over, arm under, club, bull, tilt and toss offensive linemen; nice feet to clear trash; very effective on stunts. Can get skinny in hole, with burst, and provides instant pressure on quarterback drop zone; a disruptive player who commands a double and triple team. Very good lateral chase within the box and outside the numbers on straight line; stiff ankles to plant foot in ground and spur COD (change of direction), with a motor always running 100 mph. Good FBI (football instincts), and merely adequate blocking recognition (reading schemes on the move). Colorado attempted to fold block or trap him – and ultimately failed. A collision, run-through tackler, with wrap, and will leave feet with second effort and production.  Softli – First-round talent, top-15 pick.

 

STARLITE “Star” LOTULELEI

Nose Guard/Defensive Tackle

University of Utah Utes

#92

6:02.0-311

South Jordan, Utah

Snow College

Bingham High School

 

OVERVIEW

At age twenty-four, Lotulelei is older than most players in the 2013 draft pool, but he is regarded as one of the elite run stuffers available to NFL teams. The two-year starter for the Utes, he honed his skills as a freshman and sophomore at local Snow College, where he was also utilized as an offensive guard, in addition to his defensive responsibilities.

 

Lotulelei possesses a tall, massive frame with thick upper body muscle tone and large hands. With his sudden burst coming off the snap, he easily shocks blockers with his strength and quickness, creating an advantage that he will retain. Despite his tall frame, je plays low in his pads, doing a nice job at sinking his hips, generating a heavy anchor as he consistently holds his ground at the point of attack.

 

Lotulelei plays with good leverage to be dominant in a two-gap system (can stall double team action). He is quick to recover and create a pile or split double teams. He has excellent balance and is rarely off his feet. He is a sure tackler who can either drag down or collide and wrap, along with being a physical striker in tight quarters.

 

Lotulelei is a disruptive force that commands constant double teams. He can be sudden charging from the backside and shocks blockers back on their heels with his quickness and strength. He has valid foot speed to play defensive end in a 3-4 defensive alignment, but with his raw power, he is best served playing in-line, where he can handle multiple blockers to free up his edge rushers and blitzers.

 

When Lotulelei plays at a proper pad level, he shows excellent tools for the two-gap system. He uses his hands effectively in attempts to protect his legs from low blocks. Even when his pad level is high, he has the ability to set, anchor and hold ground at the point of attack. Working inside, he shows good force as a bull rusher shooting the gaps and generates an explosive push when he sees a free lane. When he spots the ball, he is capable of getting off his blocks and closing on the play in a hurry.

 

In his last two seasons at Utah, Lotulelei caused four fumbles and recorded twenty of his 86 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He was such a force in his first year as a starter for the Utes, that he joined Southern California’s Matt Kalil in sharing 2011 Morris Trophy honors. The award is voted on by the conference’s opposing linemen, with one selection among the offensive and defensive players.

 

A native of Tonga, Lotulelei was first introduced to the game of football at Bingham High (Utah), where he was first-team All-State selection by both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. As a senior, he led the team to a 14-0 record and the state championship, chipping in with 72 tackles and seven sacks during the 2007 campaign as a 240-pound defensive lineman.

 

The classroom has never been an area where Lotulelei excelled in, and because he was not academically eligible to play at the next level, the Brigham Young University recruiters never seriously pursued him after he graduated from high school. He eventually spent what would have been his freshman season delivering furniture for a store in Salt Lake City.

 

After a year from the game, Lotulelei enrolled at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah. Now far over 300 pounds, he played defensive line for the Badgers alongside All-American James Aiono, going on to recorded 52 tackles with fourteen stops behind the line of scrimmage that included three sacks and one forced fumble in 2008. He helped Snow College reach the 2008 NJCAA national championship game, but they lost 37-30 in double-overtime to Butler Community College.

 

Lotulelei then took the 2009 season off to preserve another year of college eligibility and to improve his academics. He was still recruited by Brigham Young, but also Oregon State, Utah State and Utah showed serious interest. “The Utah coaches came down to Snow a couple of times,” Lotulelei said. “They showed me they really wanted me. It showed me they really cared. So coming here wasn’t that hard of a choice.”

 

That one season of playing at Snow College earned the down lineman a three-star prospect rating from Rivals.com, as that recruiting service regarded him as the third-best overall player in the state of Utah. In his first season with the Utah Utes, he appeared in thirteen games, starting once at left defensive tackle and two other times at nose guard, as the team finished 11th in the nation in run defense (111.69 ypg). The sophomore would chip in with 21 tackles that included 2.5 stops for loss in 2010, while also appearing as an offensive guard with the second unit.

 

The 2011 season saw Lotulelei not only capture Morris Trophy honors (league’s best lineman), but he was also named All-Pac 12 Conference first-team before closing out his junior campaign as the Most Valuable Player of the Sun Bowl. He started all thirteen games at nose guard, producing 44 tackles while tying for second on the team with nine stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caught a 17-yard pass on a fake punt in the California clash.

 

In 2012, Lotulelei became the 18th player in school history (since fullback Frank Christensen in 1932) to receive All-American honors. He is just the third defensive lineman to join that list, following Steve Clark in 1981 and Luther Elliss in 1994. The first-team All-Pac 12 Conference choice started all twelve games at nose guard, finishing with 42 tackles, as he ranked second on the squad with five sacks and led the Utes with a career-best eleven stops behind the line of scrimmage.

 

Rather than accept an invitation to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl, Lotulelei opted to work out in preparation for the February NFL Scouting Combine. However, he was not allowed to work out with the rest of the defensive lineman after an echocardiogram revealed an abnormally low ejection fraction. While a normal heart will pump between 55 to 70 percent of the blood out of the left ventricle of the heart and into the body, Lotulelei’s left ventricle was found to be pumping at only 44 percent – below normal but not considered in the range of heart failure.

 

Symptoms of poor blood flow can include fatigue, shortness of breath, lack of appetite, confusion and increased heart rate, and generally don’t generally begin until 40 percent.

Lotulelei’s condition could be the result of a sudden drop in heart function caused by something as simple as a viral illness or hormone abnormalities that put undue stress on the heart, according to USA Today.

 

It must be noted that Lotulelei did not fail his physical, but was rather given an incomplete designation, and asked by combine officials not to participate out of caution. He flew back to Salt Lake City to see a specialist, but was still cleared to exercise.

 

 

This is not the first time a draft prospect has been diagnosed with a heart condition before the NFL combine. In 2012, Oklahoma defensive lineman Frank Alexander missed the combine after being diagnosed with a heart condition, but was eventually drafted by the Carolina Panthers after being medically cleared to play. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has dealt with an irregular heartbeat since he was 12-years-old and has had few complications from the condition during his NFL career.

 

CAREER NOTES

In 38 games at Utah, Lotulelei started 28 contests – 27 at nose guard and the 2010 San Diego State clash at left defensive tackle…As a member of the Utah Utes, he recorded 107 tackles (48 solos) with seven sacks for minus 39 yards and 22.5 stops for losses totaling 66 yards…Also caused four fumbles, recovering five others while deflecting five passes and gaining 17 yards on a reception…Including ten games at Snow College in 2008, the defensive lineman collected 159 tackles (69 solos), ten sacks for minus 54 yards, 36.5 stops for losses of 96 yards, five fumble recoveries, five forced fumbles and five pass deflections.

 

2012 SEASON

Lotulelei was named All-American first-team by The NFL Draft Report, Associated Press, Walter Camp, Athlon Sports and Scout.com, adding second-team accolades from Phil Steele and CBSSports.com…He became the fourth Ute to make the Associated Presss All-America first-team and the second player at his position. In 1994, defensive tackle Luther Elliss became the first Ute to claim first-team A.P. honors. Others were offensive tackle Jordan Gross in 2002 and kicker Louie Sakoda in 2008. Elliss, Gross and Sakoda were consensus All-Americans, meaning they made at least three of the five major first teams (A.P., Walter Camp, AFCA, Sporting News and FWAA). Sakoda is Utah’s only unanimous consensus All-American, having been selected to the first team by all five organizations in 2008…The two-time first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection finished the season with 42 tackles (25 solos), including a team-high eleven stops for losses of 34 yards, placing second with five sacks for minus 24 yards…The senior also had four pass deflections, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles…His four fumble recoveries led the Pac-12 tied for second in the nation…He opened the season with a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Northern Colorado and had a 4-yard sack among four solo hits vs. Utah State…He followed with a season-high seven tackles (6 solos) that included a stop for a loss, as he also caused a fumble and broke up two passes vs. Brigham Young…The senior registered a 5-yard sack vs. UCLA and caused a fumble that he recovered while adding another sack vs. California…The Utah defender had a 3-yard sack vs. Washington and closed out his career with an 11-yard sack among his six tackles (4 solos) vs. Colorado.

 

2011 SEASON

Lotulelei was named the defensive recipient of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the best linemen in the league, in a vote conducted by the Pac-12 Conference opposing blockers…

Added All-Pac 12 Conference first-team accolades…He became the second athlete to play previously at Snow College to earn Morris Trophy honors, joining Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea, who now plays for the Chicago Bears. Paea won the award each of the previous two seasons (2009-10). Since the defensive award was first given in 1980, Snow College is the only school to have its players receive the award three consecutive seasons…Started all thirteen games at nose guard, where he recorded 44 tackles (16 solos) with 1.5 sacks for minus 12 yards, ranking second on the team with nine stops for losses of 26 yards…Caused and recovered a fumble…Deflected one pass…Also caught a 17-yard toss from a fake punt vs. California…Helped the Utes rank 20th in the nation in run defense (113.54 ypg)…Made six tackles and recovered a fumble in Utah’s Sun Bowl win over Georgia Tech…Made seven tackles vs. UCLA included an assisted stop behind the line of scrimmage…Posted six tackles with 2.5 stops-for-loss vs. Washington and was in on five tackles vs. Arizona State…Two of his three tackles vs. Colorado went for a loss (one sack)…Forced a fumble vs. Brigham Young.

 

2010 SEASON

Lotulelei played in all thirteen games during his first season at Utah, earning one starting assignment at right defensive tackle vs. San Diego State and two starts at nose guard vs. Notre Dame and Brigham Young…Recorded 21 tackles (7 solos), as he assisted on a sack and posted 2.5 stops for losses of 6 yards…Produced five tackles and a half sack vs. San Jose State, followed by four tackles vs. Texas Christian that included a stop behind the line of scrimmage…Added four tackles vs. Wyoming…Made several cameo appearances at offensive guard.

 

2009 SEASON

Lotulelei was enrolled at Snow College, but concentrated on academics and did not play football.

 

2008 SEASON

Lotulelei earned All-Western States Football League honors as a freshman at Snow (Ephraim, Ut.) College…In ten games, he recorded 52 tackles (21 solos) with three sacks for minus 15 yards and led the team with fourteen stops behind the line of scrimmage for losses of 30 yards…Also caused one fumble.

 

INJURY REPORT

2012 Postseason…Lotulelei did not participate in any workouts at the NFL Scouting Combine due to a cardiac condition that was found during medical exams.

 

AGILITY TESTS

5.09 in the 40-yard dash…1.72 10-yard dash…2.80 20-yard dash…4.53 20-yard shuttle…

7.47 three-cone drill…26-inch vertical jump…8’5” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times…33 5/8-inch arm length…9 ¾-inch hands…80-inch wingspan.

 

HIGH SCHOOL

Lotulelei attended Bingham (South Jordan, Ut.) High School, where he was a first-team All-State selection by both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News…As a senior, he led the team to a 14-0 record and the state championship, chipping in with 72 tackles and seven sacks during the 2007campaign as a 240-pound defensive lineman.

 

PERSONAL

Sociology major…Married, wife’s name is Fuiva…Couple has two daughters – Arilani and Pesatina…Son of Star Lotulelei, Sr…Born Starlite Lotulelei (pronounced lo-too-leh-lay) on 12/20/89 in Tonga…Resides in South Jordan, Utah.

 

 

 

 

PLAYER STATISTICS

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
STATS GP GS TK SO AS FR FC INT TFL PBU SACK PRES
2008 10 10  52  21  31  00  01  0-0 14.0-30   00   3.0-15    00
2010 13 03  21  07  14  00  00  0-0 02.5-06   00   0.5-03    00
2011 13 13  44  16  28  01  01  0-0 09.0-26   01   1.5-12    00
2012 12 12  42  25  17  04  03  0-0 11.0-34   04   5.0-24    00
TOTAL 38 28 107  48  59  05  04  0-0 22.5-66   05   7.0-39    00
Above statistics are for University of Utah career
TOTAL 48 38 159  69  90  05  05  0-0 36.5-96   05 10.0-54    00
Above statistics are for complete college career

ADDITIONAL STATISTICS…Caught a pass for 17 yards on a fake punt vs. California in 2011.

 

LOTULELEI GAME BY GAME LOG

2012 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Northern Colo. 08/30/12 Northern Colo. 41-0

Yes

3

0

2

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Utah St. 09/07/12 at Utah St. 20-27

Yes

0

4

0

1

4

0

1

4

0

1

BYU 09/15/12 BYU 24-21

Yes

1

6

0

1

2

0

0

0

2

1

Arizona St. 09/22/12 at Arizona St. 7-37

Yes

2

3

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Southern California 10/04/12 Southern California 28-38

Yes

1

2

0

1

3

0

0

0

0

0

UCLA 10/13/12 at UCLA 14-21

Yes

0

2

0

1

5

0

1

5

0

0

Oregon St. 10/20/12 at Oregon St. 7-21

Yes

2

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

1

0

California 10/27/12 California 49-27

Yes

0

2

0

1

1

0

1

1

0

1

Washington St. 11/03/12 Washington St. 49-6

Yes

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Washington 11/10/12 at Washington 15-34

Yes

1

1

0

1

3

0

1

3

0

0

Arizona 11/17/12 Arizona 24-34

Yes

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Colorado 11/23/12 at Colorado 42-35

Yes

2

4

0

1

11

0

1

11

1

0

Season Totals

17

25

2

9

32

0

5

24

4

3

 

2011 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Receiving

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

No

Yds

TD

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Montana St. 09/01/11 Montana St. 27-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

0

0

0

1

0

Southern California 09/10/11 at Southern California 14-23

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

BYU 09/17/11 at BYU 54-10

Yes

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Washington 10/01/11 Washington 14-31

Yes

0

0

0

4

2

1

2

5

0

0

0

0

0

Arizona St. 10/08/11 Arizona St. 14-35

Yes

0

0

0

4

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Pittsburgh 10/15/11 at Pittsburgh 26-14

Yes

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

2

1

0

2

0

0

California 10/22/11 at California 10-34

Yes

1

17

0

2

2

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

Oregon St. 10/29/11 Oregon St. 27-8

Yes

0

0

0

3

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Arizona 11/05/11 at Arizona 34-21

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UCLA 11/12/11 UCLA 31-6

Yes

0

0

0

6

1

1

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

Washington St. 11/19/11 at Washington St. 30-27

Yes

0

0

0

1

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

Colorado 11/25/11 Colorado 14-17

Yes

0

0

0

2

1

2

1

12

0

1

10

0

0

Georgia Tech 12/31/11 Georgia Tech 30-27

Yes

0

0

0

3

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

1

17

0

28

16

6

6

26

1

1

12

1

1

 

 

2010 Season

Date

Opponent

Score

Played

Tackles

Sacks

PBU

FC

Ast

Solo

Asst
Loss

Solo
Loss

Loss
Yds

Ast

Solo

Yards

Pittsburgh 09/02/10 Pittsburgh 27-24

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

UNLV 09/11/10 UNLV 38-10

Yes

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

New Mexico 09/18/10 at New Mexico 56-14

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

San Jose St. 09/25/10 San Jose St. 56-3

Yes

4

1

1

0

3

1

0

3

0

0

Iowa St. 10/09/10 at Iowa St. 68-27

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Wyoming 10/16/10 at Wyoming 30-6

Yes

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Colorado St. 10/23/10 Colorado St. 59-6

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Air Force 10/30/10 at Air Force 28-23

Yes

0

1

0

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

TCU 11/06/10 TCU 7-47

Yes

2

2

0

1

2

0

0

0

0

0

Notre Dame 11/13/10 at Notre Dame 3-28

Yes

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

San Diego St. 11/20/10 at San Diego St. 38-34

Yes

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

BYU 11/27/10 BYU 17-16

Yes

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Boise St. 12/22/10 Boise St. 3-26

Yes

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Season Totals

14

7

1

2

6

1

0

3

0

0

 

Data provided by Dave-Te Thomas, Publisher of the NFL Draft Reports for TonySoftli.com & Tony Softli Draft Board; Distributed by Scouting Services, Inc. © Copyright 2012/13 – All Rights Reserved; Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Scouting Services Inc. is strictly prohibited.