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Four Trojans Selected On Final Day Of 2021 NFL Draft

May 1, 2021

LOS ANGELES — Four Trojans — defensive tackle Jay Tufele by the Jacksonville Jaguars and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown by the Detroit Lions both in the fourth round, safety Talanoa Hufanga by the San Francisco 49ers in the fifth round and defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu by the Philadelphia Eagles in the sixth round—were selected on the final day of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday (May 1).

With a total of 5 selections in the 2021 Draft, USC now has 516 all-time NFL draftees, second most of any school. The 5 picks this year are USC's most since also getting 5 in 2017. All 5 Trojans drafted in 2021 had just completed their junior seasons.

On Thursday (April 29), offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker was selected in the first round by the New York Jets, the 83rd Trojan first rounder ever (second most of any school). A USC player has been drafted every year since 1939 and USC has the longest active streak (20 years) with a player drafted in the Top 3 rounds.

Tufele was the opening pick on Saturday (the 106th overall in the Draft) and St. Brown was selected 6 slots later. Hufanga was pick No. 180 and Tuipulotu was No. 189.

Tufele is the eighth USC defensive tackle drafted since 2005. He is the first Trojan chosen by the Jaguars since wide receiver Marqise Lee in 2014 and the first Trojan defensive lineman ever selected by Jacksonville.

Tufele opted of his 2020 junior season at USC to prepare for the Draft. He had 65 tackles, including 11 for losses (with 7.5 sacks) in his career, plus a fumble recovery for a TD and a blocked field goal. He appeared in 25 games in his career, with 18 starts.

He made the 2019 All-Pac-12 first team as a sophomore when he had 41 tackles, with 4.5 sacks. He was a Freshman All-American in 2018 when he made 23 tackles (with 3 sacks) as a redshirt freshman.

St. Brown is the 17th Trojan wide receiver drafted since 2000. He is the first Trojan selected by the Lions since offensive guard Fred Matua in 2006 and the first Trojan wide receiver chosen by Detroit since first rounder Mike Williams in 2005.

St. Brown had 178 catches for 2,270 yards (12.8-yard average) and 16 TDs in his 3-year career to rank 11th on USC's all-time receptions list. He had 7 career 100-yard receiving games, including a streak of 4 consecutive. He started 23 of the 31 games in which he played as a Trojan. He also returned 19 punts for a 5.6-yard average and 2 kickoffs for a 23.5-yard average and rushed 9 times for 69 yards (7.7-yard average) with 1 TD.

He led USC in receptions as a junior in 2020 when he made the All-Pac-12 first team, with 41 catches for 478 yards (11.7-yard average) with 7 TDs. He was 15th nationally in receptions (6.8). His 4 first quarter touchdowns against Washington State in 2020 tied an NCAA individual record for most TDs of any kind in a quarter and he became just the second player in NCAA history to catch 4 TDs in a quarter (he also tied the Pac-12 and USC records for most TD receptions in a game). He had a game-high 10 receptions for 72 yards with 2 TDs at UCLA last fall, including the game-winning 8-yarder with 16 seconds to play.

As a sophomore in 2019, he had 77 receptions for 1,042 yards (13.5-yard average) with 6 TDs, after getting a team-best 60 receptions for 750 yards (12.5-yard average) with 3 TDs as a 2018 first-year freshman.

Hufanga is the seventh USC safety drafted since 2009. He is the first Trojan selected by the 49ers since center Marcus Martin in 2014 and the first Trojan safety chosen by San Francisco since Taylor Mays in 2010.

Hufanga was a consensus All-American first teamer as a 2020 junior when he also was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the Polynesian Co-College Player of the Year and a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy. He led USC last season in tackles with 62, including 5.5 for losses (with 3 sacks), interceptions with 4 and forced fumbles with 2. He was second nationally in interceptions (0.7), 16th in forced fumbles (0.3) and 18th in tackles (10.3).

In his career where he started 21 of the 24 games he played, he had 203 tackles, including 16.5 for losses (with 6.5 sacks), plus 8 deflections, 4 interceptions and 4 forced fumbles. He made 90 tackles (7.5 for losses) as a 2019 sophomore and had 51 tackles as a first-year freshman in 2018.

Tuipulotu's selection marks the first time that a pair of Trojan defensive tackles were drafted in the same year since Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody went in 2005. He is the first Trojan selected by the Eagles since wide receiver Nelson Agholor went in the first round in 2015 and the first Trojan defensive tackle chosen by Philadelphia since LaJuan Ramsey in 2006.

Tuipulotu, who started 29 games at USC (appearing in 33 games), had 104 career tackles, including 15 for losses (with 8.5 sacks), plus 3 deflections and 2 forced fumbles.

He made the 2020 All-Pac-12 first team as a junior when he had 23 tackles (3.5 for losses). He had 46 tackles (6 for losses) as a 2019 sophomore and 33 tackles (5.5 for losses) as a redshirt freshman in 2018. He played in 3 early-season games as a 2017 first-year freshman, getting 2 tackles, before being sidelined with an injury.