Former USC defensive lineman Tuli Tuipulotu hit the field with the Los Angeles Chargers for the first time on Friday as the team began its rookie minicamp.
It might take a little bit of time for USC fans to get used to seeing Tuipulotu wearing No. 45 after he sported No. 49 with the Trojans.
It’ll definitely take them some time to get used to seeing him in so much blue and yellow.
Tuipulotu was the Chargers’ second-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. He went No. 54 overall and was the second former Trojan selected. Wide receiver Jordan Addison went No. 23 overall, to the Minnesota Vikings in the first round.
It is seemingly a good fit for Tuiplotu. He gets to stay home in Los Angeles and join a team with some standout pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. There won’t be a ton of pressure placed on him to perform right away and he’ll have an opportunity to learn from some great players.
The Chargers announced him as a linebacker when they selected him in the draft. He used his versatility as an edge player or interior lineman as a selling point throughout the draft process. But it would seem the Chargers view him as an edge player who can rush the passer and potentially work in coverage a bit. Those are roles he filled at times during his USC career.
Tuipulotu Remains Unsigned
The Chargers announced Friday that they signed six of their 2023 NFL Draft picks. That leaves Tuipulotu remaining as the only unsigned pick for the team.
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley spoke to reporters about his expectations for the rookies participating in this camp:
“You just want to see, I think, how they thrive in the classroom. There are a lot of components to the weekend where they have to learn so much for the first time, besides just football. There’s football in the classroom, there’s football on the field, special teams, offense, defense, but then it’s the weight room, the equipment room, the locker room. They just have to do so much for the first time. Just seeing how they absorb all that and seeing what type of professionalism they have, I think that’s something that we’re all looking for, that level of professionalism, that level of focus that you have to have. Then, you want that rookie class to take shape, that brotherhood with the guys that you come in with. There are a lot of things to do this weekend, for sure.”
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