Tuli Tuipulotu is set to join the family business in April — just as soon as his name is called in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Once he is drafted, Tuipulotu will become the third member of his family to become an NFL player, all by way of USC. And the latest Tuipulotu prospect has a higher draft projection than either of the two family members who entered the league before him.
Indeed, the unanimous 2022 All-America selection, Polynesian Player of the Year and Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year is projected to be taken in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft, per The Sporting News’ two-round mock draft. The 6-4, 290-pound defensive lineman earned that status with his impressive 2022 season: 46 tackles (22 for loss), 13.5 sacks, two forced fumbles.
With his pedigree, it’s no wonder Tuipulotu is considered a Day 1 or Day 2 selection in the NFL Draft. Here’s what you need to know about his football family history:
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How many Tuipulotu brothers are in the NFL?
As of now, there is only one Tuipulotu in the NFL, Marlon Tuipulotu. He was taken by the Eagles in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft (189th overall).
Once Tuli Tuipulotu is drafted, he will join older brother Marlon and form a sibling tandem playing in the league, alongside pairings that include Jason and Travis Kelce and Joey and Nick Bosa.
But the Tuipulotu brothers won’t be the only members of their family playing in the NFL. They have a cousin who, like Marlon Tuipulotu, was taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. And that cousin — 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga — has already achieved All-Pro status.
Is Tuli Tuipulotu related to Talanoa Hufanga?
Yes, Tuli Tuipulotu is related to Talanoa Hufanga. The Tuipulotu brothers are cousins of the 49ers safety. When Tuli Tuipulotu enters the NFL, he will become the third family member to join the league.
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Hufanga was taken in the fifth round (180th overall) by the 49ers — nine spots ahead of Marlon Tuipulotu. He has earned more NFL accolades, with a first-team All-Pro selection in 2022.
Here’s what Hufanga said ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft about playing with his cousins:
Prospect Prophets: Interview with USC DB Talanoa Hufanga! #NFLDraft https://t.co/9GM8PcaZZg
— Ric Serritella @ The NFL Draft Bible (@NFLDraftBible) April 15, 2021
“I actually have three cousins on the team, another one, but not a lot of people know, I have another D-lineman at USC that’s also my cousin,” Hufanga said at the time. “When you talk about four cousins on the field at once, playing defense, it was kind of, like . . . no way.”
It’s uncertain who the third cousin was. In its 2020 preseason notes, USC said only that “DLs Marlon and Tuli Tuipulotu and S Talanoa Hufanga are cousins.”
Where did the Tuipulotu brothers and Talanoa Hufanga play college football?
NFL player isn’t the only similarity between the Tuipulotu brothers and Hufanga: they’ll all make the league by way of USC. Marlon Tuipulotu (2017) and Hufanga (2018) enrolled early at the university.
Marlon Tuipulotu and Hufanga were first-team All-Pac-12 in 2020. Hufanga also earned Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, Polynesian Player of the Year and consensus All-America honors that season. Hufanga was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2019.
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Tuli Tuipulotu joined the Trojans in 2020. The three family members played only one season together. Marlon Tuipulotu and Hufanga entered the NFL Draft — Marlon Tuipulotu as a senior and Hufanga as a junior.
Tuli Tuipulotu played two seasons at USC following their departures, developing into perhaps the best prospect of the three. He, too, was highly decorated during his time with the Trojans:
- Polynesian Football Player of the Year (2022)
- Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year (2022)
- Morris Trophy (2022)
- Unanimous All-American (2022)
- First-team All-Pac-12 (2021, 2022)
Malon Tuipulotu, Talanoa Hufanga, Tuli Tuipulotu USC stats
Marlon Tuipulotu (2017-20)
|Tackles||TFL||Sacks||INTs (PDs)||FF (FR)|
|104||15||8.5||0 (3)||2 (0)|
Talanoa Hufanga (2018-20)
|Tackles||TFL||Sacks||INTs (PDs)||FF (FR)|
|203||16.5||6.5||4 (12)||4 (0)|
Tuli Tuipulotu (2020-22)
|Tackles||TFL||Sacks||INT (PDs)||FF (FR)|
|116||32||21||0 (5)||4 (1)|