Dave Iuli (iOL, 6’5” 330, Puyallup HS, WA)
Iuli is what I would describe as a mountain of a man. The former MaxPreps freshman all-American is listed at 6-5 and 330 lbs, but pictures, and our very own OWW’s estimate, suggest he’s probably around 6-3 and 340 lbs as a rising junior. Aside from the pure size, Iuli’s frame and body type remind me of Danny Shelton since both have very wide frames that carry weight in the legs and torso. That base generates some serious power as Iuli is probably the best pure road grading offensive lineman in the in-state class, and possibly in the nation. With surprising burst out of his stance, a strong initial pop, and overwhelming leg drive, all on top of his gargantuan mass, Iuli is almost assured to collapse a defensive line whenever his coach decides to run downhill on an opponent. Similar to another physical specimen, Ulumoo “MJ” Ale, Iuli has a elite power in his game. However, unlike Ale, Iuli will enter college with a decent foundation of skills and technique to help accelerate the development arc.
Somewhat limited by his short/stockier frame, Iuli should be considered a pure iOL prospect at the college level. While his foot-speed is pretty good, and he has good lateral agility in pass protection and on reach blocks, the same unstoppable force that makes him a weapon in the run game is a liability in pass protection. He can get a little too carried away with throwing his size and strength around, which leads him to play a little out of control and off balance, and it certainly affects his change of direction skills. In pass protection, it can look like he is trying to throw his mass in front of the pass rusher to land a knockout blow, but when the pass rusher takes a wider angle, Iuli can get caught chasing his opponent. Similarly, if his target in the run game moves off of his expected track, then Iuli can’t always readjust mid-play. This can be an issue in run schemes that rely on a lot of pulling or second level blocks on athletic LBs. Fortunately, there are ways of mixing and matching linemen with different skills to execute a diverse run scheme, and Iuli’s “bully-ball” skill set will certainly stand out.
Projecting Iuli’s development, his core athleticism is there for him to be an above average athlete at guard if he were to lean out through S&C work, and it looks like he is working towards that based on more recent pictures. Older pictures from his freshman year show a pretty doughy build, but the movement and power belie what the eye-test showed. People with the genetics to get that big and powerful can usually throw on muscle mass, so getting leaner will be the key to his long-term S&C. Playing around the 320-330 range while staying lean should be well within reach.
Iuli may not be for every scheme, but I’m sure Coach Huff could find a way to maximize his talents. It’s rare for a player to have such overwhelming abilities, and he’s the type of talent that separates solid lines from the elite lines in college football. I’m sure Iuli will have lots of national interest before his recruitment is over.