CRIMSON CORNER

Utah DT Leki Fotu Taking Advantage Of Down Time To Prepare For NFL Draft

Mar 25, 2020, 2:44 PM | Updated: 11:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Utah Utes defensive tackle Leki Fotu is in a unique situation during the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic as he is getting ready for the NFL Draft.

After participating in the NFL Scouting Combine, Fotu was looking forward to pro day to help improve his draft stock but his and other NFL draft prospect’s plans have changed.

Fotu joined the Crimson Corner podcast. You can listen to the full interview with Leki Fotu below.

Coronavirus Impact

The coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of sports to shut down which includes pro day. Every college football program annually hosts a pro day where NFL scouts come and observe the players that are going into the draft. The pro day is a big deal for players who didn’t receive an invitation to the Senior Bowl, the Shrine Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine.

Due to the pandemic, the pro day for Utah has been postponed but Fotu knows that he and his Utah teammates will be ready to tackle pro day whenever it will take place.

“With the coronavirus going on, we have to keep doing everything we can to stay in shape and stay ready,” Fotu said. “For us players from Utah, we tend to follow a process. We put our trust in that process. Whenever pro day happens, I know that myself and my guys will be ready for it.”

Fotu saw the benefit of having pro day pushed back so that he and his teammates can work on the drills that will take place when pro day is rescheduled.

“This downtime is helping us to be more in shape and to also get the drills down that are going to come up,” Fotu mentioned.

When jokingly asked if the 6’5″ and 335-pound defensive tackle is going around the neighborhood and dead lifting cars, Fotu said he isn’t at that point yet.

“No, I am not there yet,” Fotu laughed. “I am finding my own ways just like everybody else and doing the home workout. I try to find the heaviest thing in the house to work out on or I try to get one of my teammates to go to the (private) gym.”

Fotu believes he is projected to be taken anywhere from the second to the fourth round of the NFL Draft. He isn’t worried about his draft stock and is just hoping to raise that stock with a good performance at pro day.

Time At Utah

Fotu had a very successful career at the University of Utah that led to him being an All-American and All-Pac-12 selection two years in a row. Committing to the program from Herriman high school, Fotu wouldn’t change anything from his four-year experience with the Utes.

“My time at the University of Utah has been the best four years that I have been a part of,” stated Fotu. “Not just because of the way the coaches handle themselves but the brotherhood that we have. For me, it was just a blessing to go here because I wasn’t that far from my mom and my family.”

The defensive received a big boost on their coaching staff when Kyle Whittingham hired star defensive tackle Sione Po’uha as an assistant coach. His first season as an assistant coach with the Utes was 2019. The former NFL veteran spent seven years in the league all with the New York Jets.

“Coach Sione (Po’uha) has really helped me and John (Penisini),” Fotu said. “We were the only two seniors in our position group. He has been helping us a lot not just on the field but off the field too. To have him come back to us (Utah) and help us out, it meant a lot to us. He is someone that we look up to. Coach Sione has been great with helping us through this process.”

Along with Zack Moss, Jaylon Johnson, Bradlee Anae and Julian Blackmon, Fotu returned for his senior season in 2019 rather than going to the NFL Draft. With the type of season that Utah had the eventually led to two straight disappointing losses, Fotu said that if he had the opportunity to do it all over again, he would return to Utah again for his senior campaign.

The Crimson Corner podcast is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches, and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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