Key BYU RMs to Watch: Travis Tuiloma
No. 2–NT Travis Tuiloma
BYU is hoping that Travis Tuiloma (6-2, 320 So.) can team with Marques Johnson (6-2, 308 Sr.) to provide a solid rotation at the all-important nose tackle position.
In the 3-4 defense that Mendenhall employs, a two-gap nose that can hold his position and gobble up blockers is a necessity.
If the nose tackle gets pushed around, it not only opens up the running game for the opponent, but also has the effect of collapsing the entire defense as it looks for ways to shut down the run in the middle of the field.
With the departure of Manumaleuna in the middle of the D-line, Johnson and Tuiloma must come through in order for the defense to continue to play at a high level. The two enter fall camp as essentially co-starters after having good and productive springs.
Regardless of who starts, Travis is expected to get a lot of snaps this season as Mendenhall seeks to keep his nose tackles fresh. He redshirted his first season and then played in every game as a redshirt freshman, posting 12 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
He prepped at Washburn Rural High in Topeka, Kansas where he was a first-team, 6-A All-State player. He was also an accomplished wrestler, qualifying for the state tournament as a heavyweight during his junior and senior seasons.
After two years in Provo, Tuiloma served a mission to Western Samoa and returned in time to participate in spring camp, where he had the opportunity to shake off the mission rust. His performance, combined with progress made by Johnson in the spring, has provided reason for optimism that the Cougars will be solid in the middle this year.
Learn more about Travis from our article about him signing with BYU in 2010.