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Early Signing Profile: 3-star California edge rusher Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei flips from Washington State, signs with Arizona

arizona-wildcats-taitai-uiagalelei-2022-early-signing-recruiting-football-wsu-edge-pac12 Photo via 247Sports

An explosive, mean-streaked California pass rusher, 3-star Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei, is officially an Arizona Wildcat after flipping from Washington State.

Read on below for his profile.


High School: Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Hometown: Santa Ana

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 255 pounds

2021 Stats: 18 tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU, 1 fumble recovery

Offers: Arizona, UNLV, Utah

State, Washington State

247Sports Composite

Rankings: No. 1,500 nationally, No. 77 edge, No. 123 in California

Analysis: New Arizona defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen has a long history coaching the front seven of defenses in the Pac-12. He knows what he is looking for in defensive linemen, and Uiagalelei fits that mold.

Uiagalelei comes from another SoCal—and national—powerhouse in Mater Dei. He didn’t have as much production as someone like Isaiah Johnson or some other lineman at MD. At first glance, his stat line doesn’t look like much. However, the fact that a large portion of his tackles were for a loss says a lot about how he plays….and why Nansen likes him.

First things first, Uiagalelei has a big time mean steak. He attacks the offensive line with tenacity and violence, often time knocking his opponent off-balance once he engages.

Uiagalelei accomplishes this by his explosiveness and quickness off the snap. He shoots out of his stance like he was shot out of a cannon and collides with the opposing line. There are times he just blows right by his blocker and into the backfield so fast, the opposing player has no idea what happened. He just kind of stands there.

Uiagalelei is also proficient at shedding blocks. This is a combination of speed and knocking opponents out of synch with their blocking. Even when he is actively engaged in a block, Uiagalelei is consistently revving up his high motor to shed, or circumvent, the block and get to the ball carrier.

Overall, he has all the tools a coach could want in a pass rusher. Really just need to see more production out of him.

SENIOR SEASON HIGHLIGHTS