- Name: Jay Tufele
- College: University of Southern California
- High School: Bingham
- Hometown: Salt Lake City
- Jersey 78
- Position: 3-Tech Defensive Tackle
- Height: 6’3
- Weight: 315
Career Stats: Games Played – 25
- Solo Tackles – 36
- Asst. Tackles – 29
- TFL Yards – 47
- Sacks – 7.5
- Sack yards – 39
- Pass Defend – 1
- Forced Fumbles – 0
- Fumble Recovery – 1
- Touchdowns – 1
A five star recruit coming out of high school, Jay Tufele turned down multiple Big 10, ACC, Notre Dame and every PAC-10 offer in order to play football at the University of Southern California (USC). The offers came following a 2014 season where he earned Sophomore All-American honors. He racked up 63 tackles and 6 sacks as a high school sophomore. The year after, as a junior, he increased his production with 10.5 sacks, earning Salt Lake Tribune MVP honors. Athletic, explosive, and dominant, he was viewed as the third-ranked defensive tackle in the nation. At the beginning of Jay’s senior year in high school he suffered a torn ligament and missed the remainder of the season. Jay’s coaches and family decided to keep him off the field after he healed from his injury. They focused on Jay’s rehab and training in order to enter college completely healthy. In 2017 Jay committed USC over BYU. Jay played rugby for many years before he switched to football in high school as well.
Jay’s freshman year (2017) was spent in the training facility with strength trainers and his dedication payed off. His redshirt freshman year (2018) Jay played in all 12 games and was productive with his time logging 23 tackles and 3 sacks, All of this hard work and dedication to his training program earned him five starts in twelve games his redshirt sophomore year (2019). His USC career got off to an explosive start with his first sack and tackle for loss against UNLV. He recovered a fumble for a touchdown against Utah before a standout game against Oregon State. Jay terrorized the Beavers by logging 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. His performances earned him All-Pac-12 Second Team honors. Jay turned those honors into All-Pac-12 First Team Honors as a redshirt sophomore. He continued to be one of the most disruptive interior defensive tackles in the nation. In 2019, he added 41 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks, to his résumé. Those numbers included a career-high 6 tackles against Stanford early in the season.
Entering the spring of 2020, COVID-19 hit world–wide and with the unknown future of sports and the early cancellation of the 2020 season, Jay decided to forego his redshirt junior season. This was not an easy decision for Jay. On one hand he knew that he had to play to continue to strengthen his draft position, but on the other hand his older sister was in the hospital with COVID and several other family members were infected with the COVID virus. Jay didn’t think twice and decided to sit out the 2020 season. In an interview conducted by USC Football, Jay Tufele said the following about his decision:
“I would have done some amazing things for my team and we could have done a lot,” Tufele said about the redshirt junior season he missed. “But in the end result, I don’t regret what I chose and I’m so grateful for the opportunity that was given to me. And I took it by the hand and I never let it go.”
Jay took 2020 and dedicated it to training for the NFL. He was always there to support his teammates but this year was about his family and not just his but everyone’s future. Jay’s hard work in 2020 came through in a huge way in his Pro Day, logging some very impressive numbers for a defensive tackle.
Jay Tufele Pro Day Results
• 40 Yard Dash: 4.97• 3 – Cone Drill: 7.77• Vertical: 30’• Broad Jump: 8’9• Bench Reps: 30• Shuttle: 4.83
With his performance level and his level of dedication to get better I rate Jay as a very solid B. I give him an overall B because there are few very minor things he needs to work on but overall I see him being a soldier on the field. Jay will be a very reliable and long term asset to any team.
Assessment: 2019 film
- Jay normally plays in a 3-tech position, he does occasionally move over to a 2-I position.
- Jay plays out of a three point stance and keeps his up hand in a ready position off his thigh.
- His stance is strong and balanced with deep knee bends.
- He is very explosive and aggressive off the snap.
- Jay demands a double team and makes the offense pay for it when they don’t double team him.
- Jay has multiple tools in his arsenal to shed and disengage from the offensive line.
- Jay’s hand fighting abilities are very good.
- He keeps his head up and keeps his eyes moving to track the play.
- When he does disengage from the offensive line he swarms to the ball and is excellent in open field tackling.
- Jay has killer instincts, he has the ability to find the ball carrier and track them down to execute aggressive tackles.
- Jay has a couple things to work on to improve his long term capabilities, those are:
- Jay has difficulties with larger offensive tackles; from time to time he gets caught up and can’t get into the backfield.
- I believe he would also benefit from some agility drills. Even with how explosive and aggressive he is, his feet drag from time to time.
- I also believe that Jay would benefit from some martial arts or boxing classes to increase his hand speed and accuracy. He is very good now, but with some advanced training he could have excellent hand fighting skills.
Injuries – Torn ligament in high school.
Jay Tufele has the ability to be a long term player in the NFL. His drive and dedication have proven that. Overcoming an injury in his senior in high school and then opting out of his redshirt junior year due to COVID, he has maintained his dedication to training and to his team to be where he is today. I rated him a solid B defensive tackle and I predict him to go in the 3rd round of the draft, if not earlier. Jay is a soldier on the field. He will be that dedicated guy that grinds day in and day out to better himself and his team. He will be an immediate asset to whichever team takes him. I can see him 12-15 years from now still being a game changer and possible future Hall of Fame player.
David Van Nett is a 17-year football coach and former CFL scout. He was hired by Head Coach Chris Jones, 4 times Grey Bowl coach, to be the area scout in the Carolinas. David is an Army veteran and retired law enforcement officer as well. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @coach_vannett