After the USC Trojans were left out of All Pac-12 honors for the 2018 season, the announcement of redshirt freshman Jay Tufele making The Athletic’s All-American list is a welcome and well-deserved sight.
Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jay Tufele had an impressive season with USC this year. Playing in 12 games for the Trojans, he recorded 23 total tackles, four and a half tackles for loss (19 yards), three sacks, and one fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Congratulations to USC DL @tufele123 on being named a Freshman All-American by @TheAthleticCFB! #FightOn pic.twitter.com/Xj5F3XwQeV— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) December 7, 2018
Many fans will remember his first shining moment of 2018, when he blocked a much needed field goal for Washington State. Tufele’s block was the last needed push for USC to secure a victory over a then undefeated WSU team, and was the icing on top of a wondrous back and forth Pac-12 shootout. The redshirt freshman pulled another clutch play out of his bag when the Trojans faced his hometown Utah Utes weeks later.
In the first quarter of a 7-0 lead for USC, Tufele made one of the greatest “big man” plays of the year when he recovered a fumble by Utes’ quarterback Tyler Huntley and rumbled in for a touchdown. The touchdown run also has Tufele nominated for SB Nation’s Piesman Trophy, which celebrates the best lineman play of the season.
USC DL Jay Tufele is listed at 310 lbs.— Sporting News (@sportingnews) October 21, 2018
He shouldn't be allowed to move this fast.pic.twitter.com/YD1bQIbDNt
Tufele also had himself a game against Oregon State, when the Trojans traveled to Corvallis for what could have been a Pac-12 trap game, had USC not taken care of business with a 38-21 victory. Tufele recorded five total tackles and two sacks, and was a key player in USC’s impressive pass rush attack which featured six total sacks.
The honor of Freshman All-American for Tufele should not come as a surprise to fans, for in 2017 he was named USC’s Co-Defensive Service Team Player of the Year and it was only a matter of time before he would be one of the Trojans’ biggest playmakers come game day.
Tufele will step into 2019 as one of USC’s most reliable players on defense and will no doubt bring more highlight reel plays to a Twitter timeline near you next season.
Fight on baby. Player of the game @jaytufele #proudFamily pic.twitter.com/x7LeIdF3wd— Davis&Ilovea Tufele-Toli (@SamoaTongan1) September 22, 2018