Lutui At Home With Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals selected offensive guard Taitusi “Deuce” Lutui with the 71st overall pick Saturday. The Mesa, Arizona resident was more than enthusiastic when he spoke with local media via conference call following the Cardinals selection.
“I’m in Mesa. Man,” Lutui told the media. “What a great place to celebrate this draft. I had to run down the block just to talk to you,” continued Lutui. “This is a big time honor for me. It’s huge. This is so much more my place to play.”
Lutui is also quite familiar with the Cardinals first round selection, Matt Leinart, as he blocked for the quarterback the past two seasons at USC.
“It’s a two-for-one deal,” commented Lutui on his excitement of becoming a part of the Arizona Cardinals organization and remaining a teammate of Leinart’s. “I held Matt’s blindside for his Heisman year and I played left guard this past season. He’s just a pretty boy I like to protect.”
Lutui was a two-way lineman at Mesa High School. Out of high school, Lutui signed to attend the University of Utah, but enrolled at Mesa Community College in 2002 and then transferred to Snow Junior College in 2003. Following his stint as Snow JC he was heavily recruited by Brigham Young, where his relatives, current Cougars players T.J. Sitake and David Tafuna and former Cougar Ofa Mohetau attended.
However, Lutui passed on the opportunity to follow in his family member’s footsteps when he was given a chance to play for the successful football program at the University of Southern California.
During his tenure with the Trojans, he started all year at right tackle in 2004. In 2005 he shifted to left guard and became a dominant factor on the offensive line, providing stellar protection for an offense that set a Pac-10 Conference record with 7,537 yards.
Lutui was at his home in Mesa watching the draft with his family and said he was unaware of the Cardinals interest.
“Total surprise,” commented Lutui on he and Leinart both becoming Cardinals. “I didn’t even think of that. When I saw Matt Leinart get picked in the first round I thought ‘OK, these guys may go for an offensive lineman.’ I’m like, ‘Please let me be it.”
Lutui got his wish and will return to the valley to compete for a starting position on the Cardinals offensive line. His experiences of playing both guard and tackle were attractive to the Cardinals scouts and Lutui is eager to prove himself to the Cardinals coaching staff.
“I’m a big fan of the Cardinals,” confirmed Lutui. “I’d do anything to protect my loyalty to the program. This is a big time honor for me. It’s huge. This is so much more my place to play.”
As an Arizona resident, Lutui is thrilled to be playing for a team he rooted on while growing up in the valley.
“You know what they say, you always play better at home,” said Lutui. “I see it as another opportunity to excel for a big goal. Edge and the new stadium and everything, it’s just an opportunity for new feats and new goals to achieve, such as getting to the Super Bowl.”
Article from CBS Sportsline: