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  • 2006 USC News

  • He's a sociology major at USC. His head football coach at King Philip Regional was his father, former USC fullback Mosi Tatupu (1974-77), who was a member of Troy's 1974 national championship team (he ran for 1,277 yards on 223 carries in his Trojan career and was USC's Offensive Player of the Year and Most Inspirational Player in 1977) and then played 14 years in the NFL with the New England Patriots (1978-90) and Los Angeles Rams (1991) before entering the coaching ranks (he currently is an assistant at NCAA Division III Curry College). As a 2000 senior at King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., he recorded 110 tackles at linebacker and threw for 800 yards and 10 TD's as a quarterback while also rushing for 450 yards and 5 TD's. He was a 2000 All-State pick, as well as a 2-time (1999-2000) Sun Chronicle All-Star and All-League linebacker (earning All-League Defensive MVP honors as a senior).

    He started at linebacker as a first-year freshman in 2001 at Maine. He was second on the Black Bears in tackles with 67, including 13 for losses (with 3.5 sacks), tied for the team lead in interceptions with 3 (returned for a 16.7 average), and had 2 deflections, 1 forced fumble and 4 kickoff returns (for a 14.8 average). He was named the team's Defensive Rookie of the Year. Maine went 9-3 in 2001, winning a share of the Atlantic 10 title and its first post-season game en route to advancing to the NCAA Division I-AA quarterfinals.

    Tatupu transferred to USC in the fall of 2002 as a sophomore linebacker and had to sit out the 2002 season because of NCAA transfer rules. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee prior to the Arizona State game.

    After sitting out the 2002 campaign after transferring, Tatupu started at middle linebacker as a sophomore in 2003. Overall in 2003 while starting 12 games (he missed the Arizona State game with an injury), he had a team-high 98 tackles, including 11.5 for losses of 41 yards (with 3 sacks for 25 yards), plus 10 deflections, 4 interceptions (which he returned 126 yards, including a 26-yarder for a TD at California) and a forced fumble. He sprained his right ankle at California and missed the Arizona State game. He was named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention squad. He also won USC's John McKay Award (underclassman with the most competitive spirit). He had a game-best 14 tackles with 2 interceptions (which he returned 74 yards) and a forced fumble (which USC recovered to set up a TD) against Oregon State and a game-high 12 tackles (3.5 for losses of 19 yards, including 2 sacks) at Auburn while making his first career start (he was named USAToday.com's National Player of the Week). He also had a game-best 12 tackles (1 for a loss) and returned an interception 26 yards (to set up a USC TD) against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. He added 11 stops against BYU (2 for losses) and Washington State (both game highs), 10 at Notre Dame (2.5 for losses), 8 at California, 6 at Washington, 5 versus UCLA and 4 against Hawaii.

    Tatupu-who made the improbable jump from starting at Maine in 2001 to leading USC in

    tackles in 2003-returns as the starting middle linebacker as a junior in 2004.

    Tatupu was an All-American for the USC Trojans.

    He was selected in the second round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of the University of Southern California. As a rookie in 2005, he was named to the Pro Bowl, while leading theNFC Champion Seahawks in tackles, with 104. He also had four sacks and threeinterceptions, returning one for a touchdown in Seattle's 42-0 Monday Night Football victory against the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named Diet Pepsi's NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year at the end of the season, overcoming the scouting reports saying he was too small to play middle linebacker in the NFL.

    Lofa Tatupu is currently linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks.


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