Lotulelei was born on December 20, 1989 in Tonga. He played high school football at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah. As a senior, he recorded 72 tackles and seven sacks to help his team win the state championship.
He originally was enrolled at Brigham Young University, but failed to qualify academically, forcing him to go to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah in 2008. He took the 2009 season off to keep another year of eligibility before he signed with the University of Utah before the 2010 season.
UNIVERISTY OF UTAH
In three years with Utah, Lotulelei recorded 107 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and seven sacks.
Lotulelei weighed in at 311 pounds at the NFL Combine and was diagnosed with an abnormally low ejection fraction, meaning his heart was not pumping as hard as it should have been.
Even with this information, the Panthers drafted Lotulelei with the 14th pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Lotuleli started all 16 games as a rookie, recording 42 tackles, three sacks and 23 QB pressures. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 6th-best defensive tackle against the run. He finished fourth in voting for AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.
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