2017 NFL Draft

Star Lotulelei, DT

School: Utah  |  Conference: PAC12
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: South Jordan, UT
Height/Weight: 6-3 / 311 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
04/25/2013 - ROB RANG'S FINAL 2013 NFL DRAFT BIG BOARD: 5. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: Over the past two seasons, no defensive tackle has generated more attention from the opposition than Lotulelei, though the Utah star was put under the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons after a routine electrocardiogram at the combine turned up what appeared to be a life-threatening heart issue. Lotulelei has since passed "at least 10" medical exams, including two cardiac MRIs, considered to be the "gold standard" of all heart tests. The fact that Lotulelei was not invited back to the combine for a medical re-check is an indicator that teams are convinced the combine flareup was a fluke, making the Utes' defender a strong contender for top 10 honors. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

04/25/2013 - DANE BRUGLER'S FINAL 2013 DRAFT BOARD: 8. DT Star Lotulelei, Utah (6-3, 311, 5SR)...A coordinated, fluid big man, Lotulelei flashes the get-off quickness and power at the point of attack to dominate games. He just needs to do it for all four quarters. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

04/10/2013 - Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro tweeted the news last month -- he'll be headed to Radio City Music Hall on April 25 for the 2013 NFL Draft. And a day after Vaccaro's announcement, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o, once considered a top 10 pick who now could fall out of the first round altogether, said that he wouldn't be in New York City for the festivities. On Wednesday, the NFL confirmed that 23 players would attend the draft, three fewer than a year ago.

One notable omission: Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei, who released this statement through his agent Wednesday: "I want to thank the NFL for inviting me to New York City for the draft. Being invited is a tremendous honor and I am very grateful for the consideration. After discussing it with my family, I have decided to stay in Utah for the draft so I can share this moment with all of the people that have supported me my entire life. I expect over 50 family and friends at our home for this wonderful occasion and look forward to a special day." - Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com

04/08/2013 - Based on the expert opinions, the NFL, according to the source, is not requesting Lotulelei return to Indianapolis for a medical re-check along with other high-profile prospects, including Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan. This would be a stunning reversal; the league typically requests most players with any medical concern - from broken bones to, in Milliner's case, recovery from shoulder surgery -- to go through another battery of exams.

The NFL might be satisfied with these doctors' medical opinions. Still, each individual team will have its own decision to make. Teams trust their own doctors more than they do one who sends them a letter, requested or not. Each of the players invited to the combine are asked to undergo an echocardiogram as part of the standard medical screening in Indianapolis.

The test is considered a fair and relatively cost-effective evaluative tool but isn't as trusted by doctors as the "Holter Test" in which the patient is asked to wear a vest for up to 48 hours or a "Stress Test" in which patients' heart activity is compared after significant physical activity to their normal levels. Lotulelei, NFLDraftScout.com was told, passed each of these, as well as the all-important Cardiac Magnetic Reasoning Test (MRI), which uses magnets and radio waves to take a picture of the heart. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

04/08/2013 - Lotulelei passed "gold standard" of heart tests...Shortly after teams received the medical reports from the combine, multiple teams informed NFLDraftScout.comthat Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei would be removed from their draft board because of a possible heart issue. According to a source close to Lotulelei, the 6-3, 311-pound defensive tackle has since passed "at least 10 tests, including two Cardiac MRIs, the gold standard of medical testing of the human heart."

NFLDraftScout.com has obtained a letter that was part of the literature sent to teams explaining the details of the medical tests. The letter is signed by Dr. Josef Stehlik, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah. A University of Utah doctor signing the letter to clear a former Ute player? Sounds suspicious, right?

According to the source, Stehlik's opinion was requested by an NFL team and that the doctor granted his name being used publicly, which is a statement in itself about his con Lotulelei's results have been confirmed by other doctors, including those employed by clubs. They requested not to be named publicly but did share their opinion with the NFL. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

04/08/2013 - The medical questions make Lotulelei, a two-time first-team All Pac-12 selection, a risky selection in the top 10, perhaps, though he undeniably has the talent to warrant such a pick. If there were no questions about his medical, he'd be a lock for such a selection, perhaps even earning consideration at No. 1 overall to Kansas City and certainly No. 2 overall to Jacksonville, due to their league-worst 20 sacks a season ago.

Possessing a unique combination of power and overall athleticism, Lotulelei is intriguing to 4-3 and 3-4 teams, alike. He's a spectacular talent, who, even with his medical concerns ranks 16th overall on NFLDraftScout.com's board and 21st overall on my own Big Board. He's certainly getting plenty of attention from teams eager to learn more about him. NFLDraftScout.com has confirmed that Lotulelei has plans to either visit or work out privately with 10 NFL clubs, virtually all of which are among those holding selections in the top half of the first round. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/28/2013 - 2013 Utah Pro Day: Representatives from 31 NFL teams gathered at the pro day held at Utah on Wednesday, where 21 Utes players - joined by 12 other players from smaller schools in the area - went through a workout held indoors on FieldTurf. This represented the first on-field workout in front of NFL scouts for Star Lotulelei, a player projected to be selected in the top half of the 2013 NFL Draft. A heart condition detected at the NFL Scouting Combine kept the defensive tackle from working out in Indianapolis. His workout Wednesday could nudge him back up draft boards.

Lotulelei measured in at 6-foot-3 1/4, 314 pounds at Utah's pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash (after being advised not to run it, but doing so anyway since he desired to join the rest of his teammates who were running), and recorded times of 5.31 and 5.36 seconds. He had a 4.65-second short shuttle and did the three-cone drill in 7.66 seconds. Lotulelei had a 30-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot-9 broad jump. Lotulelei performed 38 lifts of 225 pounds on the bench press, which would have tied Lotulelei with SMU's Margus Hunt and Missouri Southern State's Brandon Williams for most at this year's combine. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

03/28/2013 - 2013 Utah Pro Day: Lotulelei worked out Wednesday at Utah's pro day after seeing cardiologist Josef Stehlik, who was recommended to Lotulelei's agent - Bruce Tollner - by the San Francisco 49ers. Lotulelei - who will continue to be monitored for the next two weeks - still has to go back to Indianapolis on April 15 for a recheck on his heart condition. Defensive line coaches from the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers were on present to watch the workout. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com

03/01/2013 - 2013 NFL PRO DAY DATES TO REMEMBER: March 20 - Tennessee, Utah...A potential top-10 pick, Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was held out of combine workouts last week after an echocardiogram detected a heart condition. He was unaware of the condition and is seeking a second opinion but remains confident he will be able to work out at this pro day. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

02/27/2013 - TOP 10 COMPELLING NFL COMBINE STORY LINES: 2. Star Status. Utah's all-American DT Star Lotulelei has been touted as a potential No. 1 overall pick, but that was before the news that he has a heart condition that was detected in NFL medical exams. Many scouts watch his tape and see an ideal 3-Technique. Now, there will be questions and much attention about whether subsequent exams determine if it's a chronic condition. His agent told colleague Jason La Canfora that Lotulelei will compete in all the physical tests at his pro day in March. A DT who everyone seemed to be falling in love with was Florida's Sharrif Floyd. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

02/25/2013 - Utah defensive tackle Star Lotuleilei returned to Salt Lake City and didn't work out with linemen in the 2013 draft Monday while instead undergoing further testing to identify what caused his heart function to appear abnormal in medical testing at the NFL Scouting Combine. USA Today Sports cites unnamed sources that indicate rapid weight loss or dehydration might have contributed to his heart pumping at less than full capacity during tests in Indianapolis.

Lotuleilei is a top-10 prospect and has held a lofty spot -- including No. 1 overall -- on the Big Board of senior analyst Rob Rang since the start of the 2012 season. He's a prototype nose tackle who dominates one-on-one blocks against interior offensive linemen. There are teams that project him as a defensive end in the 3-4 -- similar to former Oregon nose tackle Haloti Ngata -- but whether he can match Ngata's superhuman strength and short-area agility remains a question to be determined. Ngata still hopes to be able to answer those questions at his Pro Day on March 20.

He reportedly lost 10 pounds in a recent three-day stretch and the chaotic schedules players follow at the combine can lead to dehydration. Regularly they are asked to be awake by or before 4 a.m. ET -- which is a 2 a.m. wake-up call on Lotuleilei's body clock -- and then conduct formal interviews late into the night, often ending between 9 and 10 p.m. - Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange

02/24/2013 - Utah's Star Lotulelei is the top-rated defensive tackle on NFLDraftScout.com's big board. But on Sunday we found out Lotulelei is dealing with a heart condition that could seriously hurt his draft stock and, more important, be an issue for his personal health. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirmed with Lotulelei's agent Bruce Tollner that the defensive tackle is dealing with a heart condition that resulted in him not working out at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine. La Canfora reports that the combine asked him not to work out until meeting with a specialist later in the week.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that Lotulelei is dealing with a left ventricle that is pumping at 44 percent efficiency (verus a "normal range" of 55 to 70 percent).

The news came out after Sunday afternoon's media session with players ended. Lotulelei never spoke to the press, and his absence was certainly curious considering his position on big boards and in mock drafts. Lotulelei is expected to undergo further tests in Salt Lake City. Tollner tells La Canfora that Lotulelei will still interview with teams in Indy and will compete in all the physical tests at his pro day in March. - Will Brinson, CBSSports.com

02/24/2013 - Star Lotulelei, the former Utah defensive lineman who was projected to be one of the first players taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, faces an uncertain future after an echocardiogram detected a heart condition during tests at the NFL scouting combine.

Lotulelei's agent, Bruce Tollner, told NFL.com that Lotulelei was asked to sit out workouts until he consults with a specialist. Lotulelei will see a specialist this week and plans to take part in all the tests at Utah's pro day on March 20, Tollner told NFL.com.

ESPN is reporting that Lotulelei's left ventricle is pumping at 44 percent efficiency compared with the normal range of 55 to 70 percent. University of Utah sports information director Liz Abel said she was unaware what heart tests Lotuelelei underwent during physicals at Utah.

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Lotulelei made six All-America teams as a senior and was a first-team all-Pac-12 Conference player. The nose tackle finished with 42 tackles including a team-high 11 tackles for loss and five sacks. - Lya Wodraska, The Salt Lake Tribune

12/16/2012 - 2012 WALTER CAMP ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM: DL Star Lotulelei, Utah, 6-4 320 Sr., South Jordan, UT...Lotulelei, a two-time first-team all-Pac-12 selection, finished the season with 42 tackles, including a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. The senior also had four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He leads the Pac-12 and is tied for second in the nation in fumble recoveries (4). - Utah football

12/16/2012 - 2012 AP ALL-AMERICAN FIRST TEAM: DT - Star Lotulelei, senior, 6-4, 320, Utah...Lotulelei (pronounced lo-too-le-LAY) becomes the fourth Ute to make the A.P. All-America first team and the second player at his position. In 1994, defensive tackle Luther Elliss became the first Ute to claim first-team A.P. honors. Others were offensive tackle Jordan Gross in 2002 and kicker Louie Sakoda in 2008. Elliss, Gross and Sakoda were consensus All-Americans, meaning they made at least three of the five major first teams (A.P., Walter Camp, AFCA, Sporting News and FWAA). Sakoda is Utah's only unanimous consensus All-American, having been selected to the first team by all five organizations in 2008.

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Lotulelei, a two-time first-team all-Pac-12 selection, finished the season with 42 tackles, including a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. The senior also had four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He leads the Pac-12 and is tied for second in the nation in fumble recoveries (4). - Utah football

11/30/2012 - 2012 ALL-PAC-12 FIRST TEAM: DL Star Lotulelei, Sr., Utah (2)...has been selected First Team All-Pac-12 for the 2012 college football season. Lotulelei, considered by many as the best defensive tackle in college football and last year's Morris Award winner as the best defensive lineman in the Pac-12, faced double or triple-teams on virtually every play this season. Still, he leads the Pac-12 and is tied for second in the nation in fumble recoveries (4) and his 42 total tackles includes a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. Lotulelei also has four pass breakups and three forced fumbles (tied for fifth in the league). - Utah football

11/18/2012 - DT Star Lotulelei's candidacy for the Bednarik Award -- given to the nation's best defensive player -- had to take a hit Saturday against Arizona. He had three tackles and a fumble recovery but did little to stop the Wildcats' running game. He also committed a costly penalty just moments into the fourth quarter after Utah had stuffed Arizona on third down at the Utes' 5. Lotulelei drew a hands-to-the-face penalty that gave the Wildcats an automatic first-and-goal at the 2, instead of facing a fourth-and-2 at the 5. Arizona scored one play later to tie the game at 24.

11/13/2012 - Week 11 Rewind: BYU, Utah Pass-rushers Give Beehive State Its Sting...While his physical traits cannot be ignored, Lotulelei's mental mistake midway through the fourth quarter led to the Huskies pulling away. The senior defensive tackle was caught offsides to extend a Washington drive -- the second time Lotulelei was penalized for guessing the snap count rather than watching the ball. Teams won't forget Lotulelei's lack of discipline but ultimately it will be his physical traits that will prove the more lasting impression. Lotulelei's size, strength and athleticism make him scheme-versatile and quite likely a top five pick. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

11/13/2012 - Week 11 Rewind: BYU, Utah Pass-rushers Give Beehive State Its Sting...The average football fan might be surprised with how highly the state of Utah would rank in a national competition for NFL prospects. Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei didn't have a big statistical night against the University of Washington but that's largely because the Huskies double-teamed him most of the game. When he was assigned just one blocker, Lotulelei demonstrated the quick hands and feet that belie his 6-3, 320 pound frame. Lotulelei, the reigning Morris Trophy winner, has been my top-rated prospect much of the year. I'll be the first to admit that the defensive tackle hasn't been as consistent as I would like but he clearly possesses some special attributes. As mentioned, he's quick. He's also quite strong, showing the heavy hands and upper body strength to rip violently free from blocks. He used his great strength to simply bull rush through Washington left guard Dexter Charles for a sack late in the third quarter with the Huskies nursing a 21-15 lead. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

10/08/2012 - Week 6 Rewind: Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei entered the 2012 season as my top-rated prospect in the country. Though he's flashed the unique combination of strength and athleticism that caused him to be voted by Pac-12 offensive linemen as the conference's dominant down defender a year ago, he's been largely inconsistent this season. Scouts having recently visited Utah, in fact, have told me they've found him somewhat "underwhelming" so far. Their tunes may change after reviewing the tape of Thursday's performance against USC. While the Utes lost this contest 38-28 and Lotulelei was officially only credited with three tackles, including one tackle for loss, the reasons I believe he'll wind up a top five pick in the 2013 draft were on constant display. in a highly anticipated matchup against Lotulelei's power, burst off the snap and lateral agility helped him dominate USC's center Khaled Holmes, a 6-3, 305 senior rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the top prospect at his position for the 2013 NFL draft. When forced to block Lotulelei by himself Holmes was consistently pushed deep into the pocket, resulting in two botched snaps and multiple tackle for loss opportunities for an aggressive Utah front seven. After it was clear that Holmes could not handle Lotulelei alone, USC committed one of their guards to assisting their senior center on most snaps and at times dedicated a third blocker to the Utah defensive tackle. As the game went on, it was clear Lotulelei wore down. He played hard throughout the contest, however, pursuing laterally and downfield even as the game got out of reach. That kind of sustained effort against the most talented offensive unit he's likely to face all season long will ultimately result in Lotulelei earning the highest draft selection of any Utah player since Alex Smith was selected No. 1 overall back in 2005. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

10/04/2012 - SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Injuries also hampered the Utes in their loss to Arizona State on Sept. 22, but the secondary should be at full strength this week with the return of FS Eric Rowe, who has missed two games with injuries. The defensive backfield also had missed SS Brian Blechen, who served a three-game suspension to start the season. USC QB Matt Barkley leads the Pac-12 with 12 TD passes, but he also has thrown five interceptions, and the Utes have the ability to help their fledgling offense with momentum-changing plays. If DT Star Lotulelei can help the Utes shut down RB Silas Redd (84.5 rushing yards per game), that gives the secondary a chance to confuse Barkley. - The Sports Xchange

09/10/2012 - Week Two Rewind: A full day of action on Saturday won't stop scouts from remembering the standout play from Utah senior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who demonstrated Friday night that he's well worth the hype. While his Utes were the victims of a stunning upset at the hands of state rival Utah State, one can't blame Lotulelei, who registered four tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble despite fighting through constant double-teams. Lotulelei has good power at 6-3, 320 pounds but what makes him unique is his burst off the snap and overall athleticism. The NFL's need for quarterbacks will almost certainly makes him a darkhorse candidate, at best, to be the first pick of the 2013 NFL draft but there are few players -- if any -- throughout the country who can wreak havoc on any given snap like this Ute defender. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftscout.com

09/09/2012 - DT Star Lotulelei had four tackles with a sack and a forced fumble, but he hasn't wreaked the havoc the Utah coaches have been hoping for to either be more of a disruptive force between the trenches or command double-teams to spring teammates to bring pressure. The Utes entered the season with one of the most touted defensive lines in the country but have not played up to expectations so far.

09/07/2012 - THIS WEEK'S GAME: Utah at Utah State, Sept.7 -- The Utes have won 12 straight in the series, but the schools have not met since 2009. The Aggies won back-to-back meetings in 1996-97. USU head coach Gary Andersen was Utah's defensive coordinator from 2005-08, spent 11 years as an assistant there overall and has a staff full of former Utes waiting for a shot at the BCS school. KEYS TO THE GAME: Utah has to wait out the Aggies' wave of emotion and play mistake-free football to quash any Utah State hopes of an upset. Because Andersen knows so much about the Utah personnel, the Utes likely won't be able to produce many surprises. If QB Jordan Wynn can keep the Aggies' defensive focus away from RB John White, Utah should be in good shape. PLAYERS TO WATCH: Senior DT Star Lotulelei's presence may be helping sophomore DE Nate Fakahafua. Fakahafua made his first start last week against Northern Colorado and had a sack, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. If Utah State can't run up the middle against the Utes, the home team also is going to be hard-pressed to get the ball around the corner. - The Sports Xchange

08/30/2012 - Rob Rang's 08/30/12 Top 32 NFL Draft Big Board: 1. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The reigning Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's most dominant defensive lineman, the 6-foot-3, 325-pound Lotulelei is earning comparisons from regional scouts to former Oregon Duck and current Baltimore Ravens star Haloti Ngata. Lotulelei's combination of size, athleticism and power make it a reasonable comparison, which is high praise in itself. Learn the name now -- this is the most appropriately named player in the country. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

08/30/2012 - SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Utah doesn't figure to be tested against a Northern Colorado rushing attack that averaged just 56.1 yards and 2.2 yards per carry last season. Bears QB Seth Lobato threw for 2,448 yards and 17 TDs, and the Utes will get a glimpse of how its secondary handles the live bullets coming at their secondary. Despite the absence of SS Brian Blechen (serving a three-game suspension), LB Trevor Reilly is Utah's other defender who tends to make momentum-changing plays in the back end. DTs Dave Kruger and Star Lotulelei and WR Luke Matthews have been named team captains for the 2012 season. - The Sports Xchange

08/07/2012 - COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S TOP 10 MOST VALUABLE NON-QBS: 10a. Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT: The biggest reason why the nation's best interior defensive lineman isn't higher on this list is because even if he's able to be every bit of the force he was in 2011 or even more, it's a stretch to think the Utes will be able to crack the top 15. But don't underestimate Lotulelei. No one out West does after witnessing him and what the Pac-12's top D could do, and as I wrote a few weeks back, Lotulelei has changed his diet and gotten into much better shape this season. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

07/27/2012 - Top-five Utah prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 1. DT Star Lotulelei...Scouts on the road last season told me they saw a physical skill-set that brought back memories of an unpolished but dominant Haloti Ngata, who played his college ball at Oregon before developing into an All-Pro defensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens. For his high pre-season grade to become reality, however, he'll need to prove that his 2011 campaign was no fluke -- a legitimate concern considering that Lotulelei entered last season having only emerged as a starter in the final three games of 2010 (21 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack). Lotulelei is currently NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated defensive tackle available in the 2013 NFL draft and is our No. 3 rated prospect, overall. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

07/27/2012 - Top-five Utah prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft: 1. DT Star Lotulelei...Rarely does a player come along who so thoroughly dominates his competition that despite posting only average statistics and playing in a relatively small media market he generates buzz across the entire nation. That is precisely what 6-3, 318 pound defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (pictured above) accomplished this past season for the University of Utah. Recognized by Pac-12 offensive linemen as the best defensive lineman in the conference with the Morris Trophy, Lotulelei posted 44 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks despite facing consistent double and even occasional triple team blocks in 2011. Possessing an awesome combination of quickness and power, Lotulelei made more plays than his statistics would indicate as he frequently blew up plays in the middle in which the ball-carrier (whether a quarterback or running back) was forced to abandon the original design of the play, run from the fearsome monster in the middle and ran right into the arms of another Ute defender. Blessed with long-arms, quick feet and a high-revving motor, Lotulelei has all of the physical traits to warrant early first round consideration. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

07/25/2012 - "He reminds me of Haloti Ngata. He's in that same category," says Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "He's just a disruptive force." "He's a dynamic player," says new Arizona State head coach Todd Graham who played against Utah last year as head coach at Pittsburgh. "He's a guy who can take control of the line of scrimmage and be very impactful to the outcome of a football game." Star could have left Utah early and entered the 2012 NFL draft. Some experts believe he would have been as high as a late first round draft pick but he turned down the money to return for his senior year. "That was probably the biggest coup of the season," jokes Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. "We're excited that we've got him in the lineup for one more year." Despite what experts said about his draft stock Star didn't feel ready to make the move to the NFL. He believes he still needs to work on his technique, and improve his conditioning to play at the next level. When he considers how far he has come the past four years he is just grateful that he will have a chance. "That one decision, coming back to football, it's made a huge difference," Star says. "Hopefully it will make a bigger difference in the future." Star will graduate this December with a degree in Sociology. His coach believes his decision to return to school will also pay off on the field as well. "It's a great story," says Kyle Whittingham. "I'm more than certain it's going to have a great ending." - Jeremiah Jensen, KSL Sports

07/25/2012 - When he arrived in the Utes program in 2010, he shed 30 pounds. He worked his way into the starting lineup for Utah's final three games of the season. Last season, Lotulelei blossomed. He earned the Morris Trophy, honoring the Pac-12's top defensive lineman, while anchoring one of the country's better defenses. Rival coaches called him a huge headache, a guy who gives them fits in game-planning and even bigger fits on gamedays. "He's just got such awareness and that combination of great strength and agility," says teammate John White, a running back. Many expected Lotulelei who, along with his wife and their two children, all live with his parents and his younger brother, might take the money and jump to the NFL. But he didn't. "My decision for coming back - I talked it over with my family - we decided it was the best thing for me, because I didn't feel like I was ready to take the next step yet," he said. "There are still a lot of things I need to work on as a football player. As far as knowing where I would go, I didn't ask, I had my decision made, and that's what I went with." Among those things he wants to work on before he's finished at Utah was getting himself into better shape. He says he's down 10 pounds, from the 325 he played at in 2011. That wasn't easy. Right after the Utes' bowl win on New Year's Eve over Georgia Tech, Lotulelei gave up ice cream, chips and his favorite, Wendy's. He said his usual was to eat five Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers at one sitting. But he knows what his focus must be. Lotulelei doesn't crave the spotlight, he says. He is trying to put all of the individual talk to the side and hone in on what his team needs in order to have a great season. - Bruce Feldman, CBS Sports

07/25/2012 - Lotulelei's decision to return for his senior season instead of opting for the NFL was a popular topic of discussion. "I'm happy with the decision I made. I don't regret anything," Lotulelei said while explaining that his spring and summer workouts have gone well. "I think it was a great decision for me and my family." The decision to finish his education and improve his football skills, however, does come with a risk. Lotulelei, however, insists its just part of playing football. "There's always a risk of getting hurt," he said. "That's just a risk that I'm taking." Lotulelei, though, is confident its something he'll get through if he continues to work hard in the offseason. Even so, Lotulelei acknowledged he's also looking into getting an insurance policy as a safeguard. - Dirk Facer, The Deseret News

07/20/2012 - 2012 ROTARY LOMBARDI AWARD PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, has been selected to the Preseason Rotary Lombardi Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season, presented the nation's top college lineman or linebacker each year by The Rotary Club of Houston. Lotulelei was the Pac-12's best defensive lineman in 2011, making first-team all-conference and winning the league's Morris Award. He has been named a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon Football Yearbook and is Blue Ribbon's preseason Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. - Utah football

07/18/2012 - 2012 BRONKO NAGURSKI TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah, has been selected to the Preseason Bronko Nagurski Trophy Award Watch List for the 2012 college football season. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is presented to the National Defensive Player of the Year by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America. Lotulelei was the Pac-12's best defensive lineman in 2011, making first-team all-conference and winning the league's Morris Award. He has been named a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon Football Yearbook and is Blue Ribbon's preseason Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. - Utah football

07/18/2012 - 2012 OUTLAND TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT, has been selected to the Preseason Outland Trophy Watch List for the 2012 college football season, which goes to the best interior lineman in college football, as selected by the Football Writers Association of America. Lotulelei was the Pac-12's best defensive lineman in 2011, making first-team all-conference and winning the league's Morris Award. He has been named a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon Football Yearbook and is Blue Ribbon's preseason Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Some analysts have projected the 6'4", 325 pound senior as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft. - Utah football

07/10/2012 - 2012 BEDNARIK AWARD PRESEASON WATCHLIST: Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT, Sr., has been selected to the preseason Bednarik Award watchlist for the 2012 college football season. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the nation's top defensive player since 1995. A former standout at Penn and with the Philadelphia Eagles, Chuck Bednarik is a member of both the College Football Hall of Fame's Class of 1969 and the NFL Hall of Fame's Class of 1967. Lotulelei was recently named a preseason first-team All-American by Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon Football Yearbook and is Blue Ribbon's preseason Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Lotulelei and White are preseason first-team all-Pac-12 picks by both Phil Steele and Blue Ribbon. Lotulelei, considered by many to be the best interior defensive lineman in the country, was named first-team all-Pac-12 in 2011 when he won the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman. Some scouting services have projected the 6'4", 325 pound senior as the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft. - Utah football

05/15/2012 - 05/14/12 BIG BOARD, BEST FOR 2013: 2. Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah: The reigning Morris Trophy winner as the Pac-12's most dominant defensive lineman, the 6-3, 325-pound Lotulelei is earning comparisons from regional scouts to former Oregon Duck and current Baltimore Ravens' star Haloti Ngata. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

05/11/2012 - Starlite is proving be star bright for the Utah Utes. Although he goes by a shortened version of his first name, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei isn't cutting any corners on the field, or in the classroom. He's put sure-fire NFL riches on hold to complete his sociology degree and play his senior season of college football. It's a decision he doesn't regret. "There was never any doubt when I decided to stay," said Lotulelei, who is on track to graduate this fall. Lotulelei is taking a lot of pride in completing his education. It's something his parents have always pushed for and he's determined to get it done. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham isn't surprised. "Education is very important to Star," he said while noting that Lotulelei is married and has a family. "We all know that a football career can be a fleeting proposition and to have that degree in hand in December is very important to him. I'm proud of him for making that decision." Lotulelei's coach at Bingham High, Dave Peck, is equally pleased with how things have worked out at Utah. "I think it tells you how he has grown up and matured as a person. Back when he was younger, Star really struggled in school and it just wasn't something that he felt was real important to him," Peck said before noting that Lotulelei narrowly got into the University of Utah after attending Snow College. - Dirk Facer, Deseret News

05/07/2012 - 2012 LOTT IMPACT TROPHY PRESEASON WATCH LIST: Star Lotulelei, Utah, DT, 6-4, 325 (South Jordan, Utah): Won Morris Trophy as top defensive lineman in the Pac 12 last year...First team All-Pac 12...44 tackles, 9 for losses...Born in Tonga. - Lott IMPACT Trophy


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