High School and College Career
Zion Tupuola-Fetui was a 3-star recruit from Pearl City High School prior to joining the Washington Huskies football program.
During his freshman year in 2018, he only managed to play in two games and logged a disappointing 11 snaps. Tupuola-Fetui made a single tackle and added one stop while recording no assists.
During the 2019 season, Tupuola-Fetui participated in 151 snaps across 12 games, recording 6 tackles, 2 assists, and 2 stops. While he may not have been very effective as a pass rusher, only producing 4 total pressures, 3 QB hurries, and a single QB hit, it was still an improvement over his freshman-year statistics.
His breakout season would come during his junior year in 2020. Playing in just four games but contributing on 222 snaps, Tupuola-Fetui made a significant impact as a pass-rusher, totaling 20 pressures, including 11 QB hurries, 2 QB hits, and 7 sacks. He also recorded 8 tackles with 2 assisted tackles.
During his senior season in 2021, Tupuola-Fetui played in just five games and logged a total of 130 snaps, recording 7 tackles, one assist, and 4 stops. As a pass-rusher, he tallied 9 total pressures, which included 7 QB hurries, one QB hit, and one sack on the season.
Tupuola-Fetui finished his college career in 2022 as a fifth-year senior. He played in 12 games, logging a total of 358 snaps and recording 17 tackles, 2 assists, and 15 stops. In coverage, As a pass-rusher, he totaled 31 pressures, including 23 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and 5 sacks on the season.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui Scouting Report Introduction
Zion Tupuola-Fetui has made a name for himself in college football due to his dominant skills on the field. Specifically, his pass-rushing skill set has been quite impressive, as it features various components such as smooth get-off, active hands, excellent power, a hot motor, good angles, and good finishing burst. He has shown that his rush plan is built on using his length, working counters, and converting speed to power, illustrating his ability to vary his approach and keep opposing teams on their toes.
Moreover, Tupuola-Fetui has showcased a strong repertoire of rush moves and ways that he can beat blocks by softening angles and working the edges of blockers. In addition, his ability to get his hands and collapse the width of the pocket with a bullrush is also noteworthy. His style of play is quite disciplined as he doesn’t abandon his rush lane and he does well to keep quarterbacks contained. He further proves this by having a knack for stripping the football and getting his hands into throwing lanes.
However, it’s important to note that Tupuola-Fetui’s effectiveness declined in 2021 in comparison to his dominant play in 2020. It is critical for him to recapture the playmaking ability he displayed in the past during the upcoming 2022 season. Additionally, he has some tightness throughout his frame, where he struggles to dissociate his upper and lower half and bend. While he does well to work the edges of blockers and soften angles, he isn’t overly flexible when cornering. Tupuola-Fetui could improve his performance by showcasing more ability to reduce his upper body, offering less surface area to blockers.
While he is a modest run defender, there are areas where he can improve. For example, he can be turned out of his run fit because of a tendency to play with poor leverage and get caught peeking into the backfield. Finally, his coverage drops, and comfort in space leave something to be desired, and this may be something he needs to work on in the future.
Overall, Tupuola-Fetui has established himself as a promising player with impressive pass-rushing skills, but he still has room for improvement in other areas of his game if he wants to become a well-rounded player.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui has shown incredible potential as a football player, particularly as a rangy run defender. He possesses a natural ability for locating and pursuing the ball, with the added agility to move quickly and avoid blockers at the second level.
However, Tupuola-Fetui’s talents extend far beyond run defense. He has impressive speed and athleticism that could potentially make him a strong candidate for transitioning to outside linebacker and coverage. He is a relentless pass rusher, with a rare combination of length and speed that makes him difficult to guard against.
Tupuola-Fetui’s quickness off the line of scrimmage sets him apart from other players, and his violent hands allow him to effectively maneuver around the edge. But his true strength lies in his ability to counter opposing defenses and outmaneuver them.
What sets Tupuola-Fetui apart from other players is his obvious versatility on the field. He can rush from both a two- and three-point stance, and his playing speed allows him to stand up in space and hold his own.
Perhaps most impressively, Tupuola-Fetui’s energy and skill level do not diminish over time. He possesses impressive strength as a bull rusher, and his consistent intensity on the field is a testament to his immense potential. In short, Zion Tupuola-Fetui is an exceptional football player with a bright future ahead of him.
While he has shown strong performance at the college level, there are concerns about his ability to translate that success to the more challenging competition of the professional league.
One notable weakness in Tupuola-Fetui’s game is his lack of power and anchor against stronger offensive linemen. This issue may limit his ability to hold his ground against some of the more physical and imposing blockers he will face in the NFL.
Another concern is his relatively short arms, which could be a significant disadvantage when it comes to defender-blocker engagement. This physical limitation may make it difficult for him to maintain separation from his opponents or use his hands effectively to fight off blocks.
Looking more broadly at his physical attributes, Tupuola-Fetui has potentially problematic hip and knee stiffness. These characteristics may pose additional challenges for him in performing at the level required for success as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
While there are certainly areas of concern with Tupuola-Fetui’s abilities, it’s worth keeping in mind that there are also many things he has done well in college that could translate to the NFL. He has shown impressive athleticism, quickness, and the ability to disrupt plays and apply pressure on the quarterback.
Zion Tupuola-Fetui is our 80th prospect on our draft big board.