Senior Bowl Scouting Report - Star Lotulelei

Can Utah DT Star Lotulelei translate his size and athletic ability into a high draft selection at the 2013 NFL Draft? Phil Savage

Print This October 22, 2012, 07:00 PM EST

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Note: This scouting report was written by Phil Savage, Executive Director of the Senior Bowl. It is reprinted here with permission

#92 Star Lotulelei DT Utah 6031/320/5.15

US PRESSWIREThe scouting staff at the Senior Bowl says that Star Lotulelei needs to be more consistent on a down-to-down basis to make an impact in the NFL.

Background: Star will be a 24-year-old NFL rookie in 2013. Earned first team All-State honors at Bingham High School, South Jordan, UT after recording 72 total tackles and 7 sacks as a senior. Played at Snow College (UT) in 2008 and registered 52 total tackles, 14 tackles-for-loss and 3 sacks. He did not play during the 2009 season, but signed with Utah and started 3-of-13 games in 2010. He finished the year with 21tt/2.5tfl and a sack. In 2011 as a junior, he started all 13 games, was named first team All-Pac-12 and was awarded the Morris Trophy, recognizing the league’s best defensive lineman. He totaled 44 tackles, 9 tfl’s and 1.5 sacks before concluding the year by being selected as the Most Valuable Lineman of the Sun Bowl. So far, through six games of the 2012 season, he has registered 24 total tackles, 6 tfl’s, 2 sacks, 4 batted passes, forced 2 fumbles and recovered another. Off the field, Star is married with a child and is majoring in Sociology.

Tapes Viewed: 2011-Southern California, Pittsburgh, Washington State;
2012-Utah State, BYU, Southern California
Game Attended: vs. Southern California, October 4

Summary: Star is a two-plus year starter at defensive tackle for the Utes. He spent two years at Snow College (UT), but only played one season of football. After signing with Utah, he primarily played as a backup in 2010, but did start three games. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2011, he has been the most noteworthy defensive lineman in the Pac-12. Size-wise, he is a “house” with a well-proportioned body and a muscularly developed frame. He is very thick in the lower-body with massive calves, thighs and a bubble. His upper-body is equally impressive with broad shoulders, solid arms and big-boned wrists. In the Utes’ 4-3 front, he usually aligns as the right defensive tackle and plays from a right-handed, three-point stance as either a 1- (NT) or 3-technique (DT). Against the run, he has the obvious size and strength to anchor and two-gap almost any opponent. When he plays with proper fundamentals and gets his hands inside, he is impossible to move at the point-of-attack because of his overall base and balance. He is capable of striking with his hands and pressing the lineman back into the backfield. However, he sometimes is late off the snap, does not get his hands inside and can get turned or position blocked. When runs go away, he has the natural agility to step over and skate down the line. He gives flashes of big-time movement ability, stays on his feet and can run to the perimeter. As a pass rusher, Star is most effective when he makes up his mind to bull and push his opponent into the pocket. He flashes enough hand and foot quickness to develop more of a repertoire and he also has the lateral athletic skills to stunt and twist on various pass rush games. He is not refined at this point, but has the potential to become a factor on all three downs because when he does puncture the pocket he can close on the QB with suddenness. Overall, instinctively, Star will get occupied with the 1-on-1 battle rather than finding the football. When he does make tackles, he usually gets a grip on the runner and ropes them down with authority.

For the NFL, he is an ideal fit as a 3-4 Nose or 4-3 Tackle. He is scheme-friendly, so his value will be high to most every team in the league. With his combination of freakish size and surprising athletic ability, regardless of his motor inconsistencies, he will be an extremely high pick because there simply are not these kinds of body types available all over college football. Many will try to compare him to Haloti Ngata, the former Oregon and current Baltimore Ravens’ defensive lineman, but he does not have the track record of dominance Ngata displayed with the Ducks. Still, Star is a rare breed, can wreck the middle of an offense and should go on to have a lengthy professional career.

What the NFL scouts want to see in 2012: Simply put, Star gives glimpses of being the total package, so he needs to eliminate the long stretches of time that pass between big plays and become more consistent on a down-to-down basis.

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