Former Utah defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu announced on twitter this evening he will be transferring Pac-12 south rival USC.
Ready to get back to work, FIGHT ON!!✌ ️ pic.twitter.com/mgHdWsHruG— Steve Tu'ikolovatu (@steviet_90) June 17, 2016
Tu'ikolovatu had also been considering Nebraska and Alabama as other possible transfer destinations. Taking advantage of the NCAA graduate transfer rules, Tu'ikolovatu will be eligible to play immediately for the Trojans next season.
The news Tu'okolovatu is transferring from Utah is not new, as the school announced he would be leaving the program back in May. The word is he was searching for more playing time and many had linked him to Nebraska, since they are in need of some additional defensive line depth. The tackle visited both Alabama and Nebraska in May but appears to have decided staying out west was the better decision for him.
The former East High grad recorded 28 tackles last season and recovered four fumbles including one for a touchdown against Fresno State. Tu'ikolovatu served primarily as a backup behind Lowell Lotuleilei and Filipo Mokofisi on Utah's talented defensive line, but was an important piece and leader among the group.
It will be interesting to see where he fits in USC's scheme. If playing time was a significant factor in his decision, USC might pose a similar challenge to find playing time. USC regularly pulls top talent in their recruiting classes and sends defensive lineman to the NFL, similarly to Utah.
Tu'ikolovatu won't have to wait long to see his old teammates. USC comes to Rice-Eccles on September 23rd for a Friday night game against Utah. While Stevie moves on, there appears to be no hard feelings between him and the program with the decision purely being about finding a better fit for him playing wise. We wish Stevie the best of luck in Los Angeles, except on September 23rd!