SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Lowell Lotulelei could have easily left school after his junior season and entered the NFL Draft. So when he decided to return to Utah for his senior season, head coach Kyle Whittingham was just a little bit excited.
“[I was] elated when Lowell decided to come back,” Whittingham said. “I think it was a good decision for him. He was playing hurt last year, and he’s completely healthy now. He, in my opinion, is one of the best defensive tackles in the country.”
“I wasn’t really happy with last year, my personal season,” Lotulelei said. “This year, I’m just focusing on doing everything good from pass rush to stopping the run, everything that I can do to help our team win.”
As perhaps the Pac-12’s best interior lineman, Lotulelei knows opposing teams will try to double team him on virtually every snap, but he says bring it on.
“I’ve been getting doubled teamed since I’ve been here, so it’s nothing new,” Lotulelei said. “That’s what you’re teammates are there for. If there’s two on me, then there’s got to be one on somebody else.”
Lowell keeps in close contact with his big brother Star, who was a first round pick out of Utah four years ago, and has emerged as one of the NFL’s top defensive tackles with the Carolina Panthers.
“We pretty much talk regularly,” Lotulelei said. “Whenever he can, he just texts me and asks me how I’m doing in camp. He just asks if I need help with anything. He obviously knows what he says because he’s been through the same university. So, he’s a big help to me.”
So is Lowell the next Star, or just a star in his own right?
“There’s a lot of similarities as far as how good they are,” Whittingham said. “They’re both exceptionally talented. Lowell is his own guy. He’s not Star’s little brother, he’s Lowell Lotulelei.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Lotulelei said. “Star was definitely a legend over here at Utah. But I definitely thin I’ve made a name for himself and I’m proud of that.”
Lowell never got the chance to play with Star at Utah. But when he gets drafted next season, there’s a chance they could be playing side by side.
“That would be a dream come true,” he said. “But I’m not worried about that right now.”