USC Offensive Lineman Taituisi 'Deuce' Lutui
Oct. 13, 2005
As if it's not tough enough being a USC student balancing schoolwork and a social life, try adding athlete, husband, and father to your resume.Taitusi 'Deuce' Lutui, USC's offensive tackle-guard, knows what that entails.
'It's hard to balance everything. I've had to make adjustments to my school schedule so I can divide the time between all my responsibilities,' said Lutui. 'I've got a school tutor and try to get in as much schoolwork as I can whenever I can. My wife is also a big help.'
It is not your average college student's life, but one the 6-foot-6, 340-pound daddy has acclimated to.
On the field, Lutui has been a stalwart, playing tackle for the Trojans in2004 before moving to guard on this year's team. He has been a big reason for Troy's stellar offensive line play.
And if he sounds like a big man now, you should have seen him when he first came to campus.
'When he first came here, he was about 385 pounds,' USC Coach Pete Carroll said. 'Thanks to a lot of work with the strength and conditioning staff, he got down to 340 in the off-season. He's been terrific for us. He's given us really good play, especially after moving over to guard. He looks at home there.'
Lutui is also looking at home ... at home. And although it's been tough balancing all his duties, he could not be happier.
'Although fatherhood is no walk in the park, I love my son so much. He's taught me that life is precious and to savor every moment,' Lutui said.
In the past two years, he's had plenty of moments to savor. In July of 2004, Lutui and his wife Pua got married. The following year, and the day after USC won the 2005 Orange Bowl, their son, Inoke Liuaki Moeltau, which means 'return of a champion', was born.'I flew out to see my wife right after the game. I couldn't go out and celebrate with my teammates after our win, but I forgot about all that when I walked into the delivery room and saw my wife holding my son,' Lutui said. 'I felt his spirit and felt completely blessed.'
Having a son has changed Lutui tremendously.
'When I hold my son it's an amazing feeling. It reminds me how valuable and limited life is,' Lutui said.
In his own life, Lutui has had many accomplishments. As a sophomore offensive lineman at Snow Junior College in Ephraim, Utah, he was named2003 J.C. Grid-Wire All-American first team, National Junior College Athletic Association All-American first team, Super Prep JUCO 100 and All-Western States Football League first team. In the fall of 2004, Lutui came to USC as a heralded junior college transfer.
'When I came to USC I was completely star struck. I was going to be playing with Matt [Leinart] and Reggie [Bush],' Lutui said. 'I was in awe and at the same time humbled because I was going to be on the same team with people who are extremely talented.'
Lutui has added to the star-studded team with his own talents, helping pave the way for a Trojan ground game that is among the most potent in the country and providing the protection for Leinart to pick apart defenses.
Now, in his last year at USC, he's enjoying each and every moment as a Trojan.
'Being a senior is awesome. I'm taking my final classes for my sociology major and after graduation I plan to take a cruise with my family and just relax,' said Lutui.
Before he can relax with a maitai, there's the matter of finishing off the2005 season. It got started with the opener at Hawaii, playing in front of family and friends.
'Playing against Hawaii is always a great game for me. It's great to go home and play against people I know,' Lutui said. 'It's a nice, friendly Polynesian competition when we're out there.'
What`s even more exciting for Lutui is that he now has an additional fan in the crowd.
'My son was able to come to the Arkansas game with my wife and it was just great having him there,' Lutui said. 'After our win, he came down to the field with me and I showed him off to all the people there. He had never been around so many people and his eyes were as big as dinner plates.'
Lutui hopes that one day when his son gets older he will again be on the field, but not as a spectator.
'I do have hopes of him playing football, but not as a lineman. We have too many of those in our family,' Lutui said. 'I hope he plays quarterback. I'm counting on him to be my retirement plan.'
Retirement is still a ways away for Lutui, but he has some goals he would like to accomplish in the meantime.
'I want to raise my son the best I can. I want to provide for my family the best I can,' Lutui said. 'I no longer just have to think about myself, I am constantly thinking about my wife and son.'
Since he is always thinking about others, he's thought about advice he'd like to give his teammates to prepare them for fatherhood someday.
'Always shave. Go to church. Treat your wife with the utmost respect. Love your wife,' Lutui said. 'Learn how to cook. Love life and the fact that you are just able to do what you are doing.'
By Stephanie Montano, sports information student assistant