BYU Soccer: Weber State Transfer thrives on BYU’s defensive line

If someone had said a month ago, BYU defensive end Logan Lutui that he would get the starting shot at famed Autzen Stadium against the Oregon Ducks, the Weber State transfer wouldn’t have believed them.

The 6-foot-1, 255-pound Lutui not only started in place of injured teammate Tyler Batty, he recorded four tackles — a career high for an FBS game — in the Cougars’ 41-20 loss.

“I wouldn’t have believed it, man,” Lutui said Tuesday after practice in Provo. “I’m not knocking on what I can do. But with the little time I’ve had here, I wasn’t expecting anything like this. It was a shock but I was excited to play.”

“We[decided]to look at him, and then all of a sudden we were like, ‘Okay, this boy has something.’ As we went through fall camp, he just kept showing up and showing himself. It was a good thing and now he’s obviously travelling, he’s playing for us now. — BYU Defense Coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki on the Weaver State’s transfer of Logan Lutui

Lutui is likely to return to his role as Batty’s backup on the outside end court on Saturday when BYU hosts No. 19 Wyoming, as Batty has been practicing again and is expected to play. Former Herriman star Fisher Jackson and senior Alden Tofa are also listed as outside ends and/or defensive ends on BYU’s depth chart.

Lutui, a product of Hunter High in West Valley City, joined the program in early August after transferring from Weber State. He gave up his scholarship with the Wildcats to continue at BYU.

“First of all, I liked Weber State. We had a great program. Loved my trainers, trainer (Jay) Hill, trainer (Kite) Afeaki, trainer (Grant) Duff,” said Lutui. “But yeah, it was just a decision that me and my wife made, it was what’s best for us, for our family. She was pregnant at the time.”

Lutui married Selai Damuni, daughter of BYU Director of Football Relations Jack Damuni, in 2021. The couple had a son, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Lutui, last May.

“We wanted to retire from football but we found an opportunity over here and now we’re here and we love it,” Lutui said.

Although he doesn’t have a scholarship to BYU, he’s grateful for the Built Brands-sponsored NIL walk-on program, which allows him to achieve his dream.

22FTB_at_Oregon_0588_1.jpg

BYU defenseman Logan Lutui makes one of his four tackles during the Cougars’ loss to the Ducks in Eugene, Ore.

“When I got out of high school, I only had two offers, one from southern Utah and one from Weber State,” he said. “I didn’t get many recruits in high school, so playing for a program like BYU now is pretty surreal.”

After graduating from Hunter, Lutui served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Auckland, New Zealand.

“Honestly, just looking at BYU, I felt like there were a lot of good opportunities for me here. It was good for my family and my wife to be closer to home,” he said. “It was good for me. I had the feeling that I could compete at a high level. I’m also happy to be here.”

He has two more seasons after this season.

Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said Lutui just fell into the Cougars’ laps and they were pleasantly surprised at what he could do.

“He has a lot of ability and a lot of good football ahead of him,” said Tuiaki. “He’s physical. He brings a different kind of physicality into play. For all players who play this position, we ask a lot of them just for coverage and knowledge. He’s pretty sharp. He understands things a lot quicker than I thought as he is new to the program, new to the system.”

Tuiaki said he thought Lutui would be a scout team player that first season, but a combination of injuries and Lutui’s rapid development helped the young father get onto the field.

“We (decided) to give him a look, then suddenly it was like, ‘Okay, this boy has something,'” Tuiaki said. “As we went through fall camp, he just kept showing up and showing himself. It was a good thing and obviously he’s on the road, he’s playing for us now.”

Defensive ends coach Preston Hadley said Lutui saw action in the opener against South Florida and immediately impressed.

“He came in and was a really violent and explosive player,” Hadley said. “He took some snaps that I was really encouraged and impressed by.”

Lutui actually made a fifth tackle in the Oregon game, but it doesn’t count in the final stats. After linebacker Ben Bywater intercepted a deflected pass, Lutui accidentally ran into him and knocked him to the ground.

“I caught it and I’m like, ‘Why is my own guy trying to attack me?'” Bywater said. “I love Logan. I know he was just trying to block the phone behind me. Do not worry.”


Cougars in the air

Wyoming (3-1) at No. 19 BYU (2-1)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Provo, Utah

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL News Radio 102.7 FM/1160 AM

Leave a Comment