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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Utah’s “Star” Lotulelei will challenge Arizona football

Star Lotulelei, University of Utah football vs. USC October 4, 2012 in Salt Lake City. (Photo/Steve C. Wilson)

Utah is 4-6 and fighting for its bowl-eligibility life as it takes on Arizona this Saturday, yet the Utes might have the most stellar defensive player in the Pac-12 regardless of their less than impressive record.

Star Lotulelei, the senior defensive tackle from South Jordan, Utah, is considered a top NFL prospect and is the one Utah player that puts fear into opposing defensive coordinators. He will challenge what has become a depleted offensive line for the Wildcats.

Starters Kyle Quinn, Trace Biskin and Chris Putton have all missed portions of the season with injuries, and Putton is expected to miss Saturday’s game as he recovers from a concussion.

For Arizona, should Matt Scott return from a concussion suffered against UCLA on Nov. 3, the offensive line will be tasked with containing Utah’s, well, star.

Starlite “Star” Lotulelei

Position: Defensive tackle

Number: 92

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 320 pounds

Hometown: South Jordan, Utah

Stats (through week 12): 33 tackles, 9 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries

2011 stats: 44 tackles, 9 for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery

2010: 21 tackles, 2.5 for loss, 0.5 sacks

NFL Draft rankings: No. 1 (NFL Draft Countdown), No. 3 (Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN), No. 2 (Scouts, Inc.), No. 2 (Todd McShay, ESPN)

Accolades: – Semifinalist for 2012 Chuck Bednarik Award, given to nation’s best defensive player – All-Pac-12 First team (2011) – Morris Trophy for best lineman in Pac-12 (2011)

They said it:
“We don’t have any players that are similar to his size, strength and speed to emulate it in practice. He has been a dominant player in this league for a couple of years and he will be a first round draft pick.“
— UA head coach Rich Rodriguez

“He’s a big physical player and an anchor of the defensive line.”
— Offensive lineman Trace Biskin

“He’s a smart football player. You watch him on film he knows what’s coming after him. He knows how to eat up blocks. He knows how to make other guys make plays around him. He’s a great team player.”
— center Kyle Quinn

“He’s not the first 300-pound person that’s fallen on me before. He’s got more hair and he’s gonna make a lot more money next year but he’s just another big guy.”
— quarterback B.J. Denker

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