Washington’s roster for 2024 took another hit tonight as senior DL Faatui Tuitele announced via Instagram that he is retiring from football and will not use his final year of eligibility.
During his 5 years in purple and gold, Tuitele started 25 games and played 1,268 defensive snaps per Pro Football Focus. He wracked up 23 tackles and 4 sacks largely taking on double teams in the middle of the defensive line.
Tuitele entered his Husky career with huge expectations. He was the highest rated recruit in the class of 2019 per the 247 Sports Composite and the #83 overall player in the country. The 4-star defensive line duo of Tuitele and Jacob Bandes were expected to come in and help Washington win wars in the trenches for season to come.
That didn’t quite materialize. Injuries slowed down Tuitele throughout his career. He chose not to get surgery from a pectoral muscle injury when he was in high school in order to make sure he could still play his senior season. It’s impossible to know how much that decision hampered his career. He missed all of spring practice last year due to an undisclosed injury and missed the first 3 games this season.
Still, Tuitele ended up leading the team’s defensive linemen in snaps played this year as he played a ton once back in the lineup. Washington will now be without Tuitele as well as defensive tackles Tuli Letuligasenoa and Ulumoo Ale who each have run out of eligibility. That trio were the top-three in snaps played on the interior defensive line. Washington is bringing in Montana State DL Sebastian Valdez through the portal but with Tuitele’s decision it won’t be a surprise if they look to add more reinforcements via that route this spring or later this month.
Without the extra covid mulligan year, Tuitele would already have run out of eligibility as he has been on campus for 5 seasons. He has shown at all stages of his career that he was willing to play hurt and would do whatever was necessary to help his team win to the best of his abilities. He stuck around through the transition from Pete to Jimmy Lake and then to Kalen DeBoer. He’s a Dawg through and through and we wish the best of luck to Faatui in whatever he chooses to do next. Thank you!
Wouldn’t trade my brothers and being a Husky for anything else in this world. Thank you Husky Nation for embracing this kid from Kalihi, HI. I am so Blessed to have put on that purple and gold for 5 years. Much love— FAATUI TUITELE (@tuitele87) January 10, 2024