Junior Tafuna

American football player
Junior Tafuna
Utah Utes – No. 58
PositionDefensive tackle
ClassSenior
MajorEconomics
Personal information
Height6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight308 lb (140 kg)
Career history
College
  • Utah (2020–present)
Bowl games
  • 2022 Rose Bowl
  • 2023 Rose Bowl
High schoolBingham (South Jordan, Utah)
Career highlights and awards
  • Stats at ESPN.com

Timote "Junior" Maile Tafuna is an American football defensive tackle for the Utah Utes.

Early life and high school

Tafuna attended high school at Bingham. Coming out of high school, Tafuna was rated as a three star recruit, where he committed to play college football for the Utah Utes.[1][2]

College career

In Tafuna's first collegiate season in 2020, he did not appear in any games for the Utes.[3] In week eleven of the 2021 season, Tafuna notched a career high nine tackles in a win over Arizona.[4] During the 2021 season, Tafuna had a breakout season totaling 33 tackles with five and a half being for a loss, four and a half sacks, a fumble recovery, and a pass deflection.[5] For his performance on the 2021 season, Tafuna was named the PAC-12 defensive freshman of the year and was named second team all PAC-12.[6][7] In the 2022 season, Tafuna started in all 14 games, notching 27 tackles with three and a half being for a loss, a sack, an interception, and a pass deflection, while once again being named second team all PAC-12.[8] In week ten of the 2023 season, Tafuna recorded his first career forced fumble, which he also recovered against Oregon.[9] In the 2023 season, Tafuna tallied 17 tackles with three being for a loss, a sack and a half, two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.[10]

References

  1. ^ McDonald, Ryan (6 November 2018). "Bingham Miners linebacker Junior Tafuna commits to Utah Utes". Deseret News. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  2. ^ Markham, Alex (5 November 2018). "BREAKING: Utes Local Star, Tafuna". Rivals.com. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  3. ^ Call, Jeff (7 May 2022). "He's the Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year. What's next for Junior Tafuna?". Deseret News. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  4. ^ Bagley, Cole (19 February 2022). "Utes on the rise: Defensive Tackle Junior Tafuna". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  5. ^ Call, Jeff (12 August 2022). "Utah's Junior Tafuna eager to improve after being named Pac-12's top freshman defender last year". Deseret News. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  6. ^ Bagley, Cole (12 August 2022). "Junior Tafuna is maintaining an 'underdog' mentality as he begins his 2022 campaign for Mayor of Sack Lake City". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  7. ^ Dann, Jared (20 April 2022). "Pac-12 Defensive Freshman Player of the Year Junior Tafuna eyes a repeat Pac-12 Championship and week one win against Florida". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  8. ^ "60 in 60: #13 Utah's Junior Tafuna (Defensive Tackle)". KSL Sports. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  9. ^ Holt, Chandler. "Junior Tafuna Forces Turnover By Taking Ball From Oregon RB Bucky Irving". KSL Sports. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  10. ^ "Junior Tafuna 2023 Game Logs". Sports Reference. Retrieved 11 June 2024.
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Pac-12 Football Player of the Year winners
Overall (1975–1982)
Offensive (1983–present)
Defensive (1983–present)
Freshman (1999–2008)
Freshman Offensive (2009–present)
Freshman Defensive (2009–present)