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We’re now 99 days until kickoff for University of Utah football and with that, is the return of the daily countdown. Each day UteNation will either focus on a player with the daily number or other articles relevant to the upcoming season. Today we focus on a newcomer who came on strong towards the end of the 2020, freshman Tennessee Pututau.

Pututau played in all five games in 2020 at defensive tackle, starting two, as he eventually overtook his cousin, Hauati Pututau. He had a career high of five tackles against Washington State. The 6-foot-1 and 285 pounder started spring ball listed as the starter and by all reports—since Covid protocol kept the media from seeing practices—Tennessee did nothing to lose that status.

Heading into the 2021 season, Tennessee will likely be a part of a heavy rotation, as Viane Moala, Hauati Pututau and Devin Kaufusi round out the two-deep at defensive tackle—with other newcomers sure to be fighting for a spot in the top four.

UteNation Take

One thing to watch will be how much weight Tennessee gains through the offseason and summer workouts. The 2018 signee returned early from his LDS mission due to an injury, but showed no lasting effects of it with his play.

The big question for Tennessee is how he’ll do over the course of the season as an every-down tackle. In the long run will he be more suited to be in on obvious passing downs? Can he be a multi-faceted tackle that holds up stout against the run?

Regardless of what that may be, Utah has found themselves yet another Polynesian defensive tackle that should be a mainstay on the line for the next four years.

Alex remembers Pututau’s recruitment

The Pututau name has treated the Utah program well in recent years, as four of them are currently on the roster. It’s safe to say, Tennessee—a former three-star 5.7 rated no. 27 ranked weakside defensive end—was the most highly sought of the bunch. The Utes beat out suitors such as BYU, Michigan State, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin for the beast on the defensive line. For months and months Tennessee would talk to his cousin and they’d all say they should just play together. He even acted as though he was committed, even though it took him longer than expected to make the call.

At one point I got a call from the Rivals Michigan State site telling me there was a rumor that he was about to commit to them, but it made no sense to me at all and told them that was highly unlikely. Soon after, he officially became a Ute.