Dec 20, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall reacts during the fourth quarter against the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

2014 BYU Football Newcomers: Travis Tuiloma (Returned Missionary)

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Leading up to Fall Camp at the end of the month, here at Lawless Republic we will be giving you a daily glimpse at the signees and return missionaries that will be part of the 2014 BYU Football team.

Travis Tuiloma

Washburn Rural HS | Topeka, KS

6-3 | 280 | DL

Before BYU: The Cougars have welcomed back defensive lineman Travis Tuiloma who has returned from his two-year LDS mission in Western Samoa.  Tuiloma played a year at BYU prior to serving his mission, and saw action in all 13 games as a freshman, earning letterman honors.  He totaled 12 tackles on the year, and was part of the BYU defensive unit that finished the season ranked No. 14 in the nation in total defense.

Tuiloma is a name that BYU fans have been familiar with for a while, as coaches started recruiting him almost 6 years ago.  He was heavily recruited by BYU coach Steve Kaufusi and eventually committed back in April of 2009.  At the age of 17, Tuiloma proved to be a physical specimen on the football field with his 6’3” 300 pound frame.  He prepped at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, KS, earning Consensus First-Team All-State selection honors as well as 6A All-State honors from the Football Coaches Association.  He was rated the No. 13 recruit out of Kansas according to Rivals.com.

Expectations in 2014: Starter at Nose Tackle

Tuiloma brings a valuable asset to BYU’s defensive unit, which is experience.  Travis has wasted no time shaking off the rust from his two-year absence, and made his presence known during Spring camp.  Since his return, he has shed the weight gain from his mission from 340 pounds to 280 pounds, and has been working hard in the weight room to get his strength back.  Prior to his mission, he was regarded by teammates as the strongest player on the team.  According to Coach Mendenhall, Tuiloma is expected to start at nose tackle this fall.  His experience, energy, attitude, work ethic, and leadership has prepared him to fill this role.  We expect him to start on the front line alongside Graham Rowley at left end and Remington Peck at right end.  BYU will have plenty of depth at the defensive line in 2014.

Potential in BYU career: High

As a seasoned returned missionary who already has a year of NCAA football experience, we anticipate that Travis Tuiloma will have a solid career at BYU.  We expect him to carry on the defensive nose tackle legacy, similar to Romney Fuga, Eathyn Manumaleuna, and Russell Tialavea.  If he can continue to increase his strength and agility, and develop his hands more effectively in shedding blocks, he will shine on the defensive line.  The next few years could develop as the strongest depth BYU has ever had in the defensive front unit.

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