Recognized by Pac-12 offensive linemen as the best defensive lineman in the conference with the Morris Trophy in 2011, Lotulelei posted 44 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks despite facing consistent double- and even occasional triple-team blocks in 2011.
He battled through the same level of attention from defensive coordinators in 2012, and still earned his second selection to the All-Pac-12 first team. He finished the regular season with a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks to go along with four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.
Lotulelei, who was born in Tonga, is married with a daughter. He prepped at Bingham High School in South Jordan, where he was part of a state championship team.
He then spent two years at Snow College, racking up 52 tackles, 14 for losses, three sacks and a forced fumble in 2008. He attended Snow again in 2009, but did not play football before transferring to Utah.
Lotulelei's once rock-solid status as a top half of the first round selection took a major hit when his medical check at the Scouting Combine revealed a heart issue. He immediately returned home and began undergoing a battery of tests from doctors. Rob Rang reported in early April that Lotulelei had passed the "gold standard" of heart tests, but many teams are likely to remove him from their draft boards nonetheless.
Flashes an explosive burst off the snap. Possesses the lateral agility and flexibility to slip through gaps and ruin plays before they even have a chance to begin.
Strong, heavy hands to control his opponent and possesses the upper and core strength to simply rag-doll offensive linemen. Possesses a thick, classic Polynesian build well suited to anchoring against the run, making him a natural candidate to play inside at nose guard or defensive tackle, as well as a five-technique defensive end.
Has a developing arm-over swim move to break free from blockers when initially slowed at the point of attack. Locates the ball well and gives good effort in lateral pursuit to make the tackle. Has only average arm length but is very strong, showing the ability to grab and pull down ballcarriers seemingly out of his grasp. Has a short-area burst to close on the ball and can generate impressive explosiveness as a hitter.
Seemed to step up his play against top competition, enjoying some of his best moments against USC (and highly regarded senior center Khaled Holmes), as well as state rivals BYU and Utah State.
WEAKNESSES: The heart condition that was identified at the combine will result in Lotulelei being removed entirely from some teams' draft boards. However, he has passed a battery of medical exams and the team that takes a chance on Lotulelei could wind up with a steal if he proves healthy long-term.
On the field, he battles consistency. Relies too much on his unique physical traits to overcome rather marginal technique. Does not possess an elaborate array of pass rush moves and has just seven sacks in 38 career games at Utah. Too often is stale-mated when his initial burst and power are contained.
Possesses shorter than ideal arms, which contributes to his struggles slipping blocks and his relative lack of passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage (five over his career).
Carries a bit of extra weight around his midsection and played at Snow Junior College in 2008 at more than 350 pounds. Will be slightly older than most prospects (turned 23 in December) after sitting out the 2009 season.
COMPARES TO: Kevin Williams, Minnesota Vikings -- While a touch shorter than the Vikings' former All-Pro, Lotulelei offers a similarly dominant combination of quickness and power and should one day rank among the league's best interior defensive linemen.