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Utah defensive lineman Mika Tafua declares for the NFL draft

Tafua will play in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State, like the other Utes that have declared.

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Utah Utes defensive end Mika Tafua (42) sacks Weber State Wildcats quarterback Bronson Barron.

Utah Utes defensive end Mika Tafua (42) sacks Weber State Wildcats quarterback Bronson Barron (10) during the season opener at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Mika Tafua is the latest Utah Ute to declare for the NFL draft.

The 6-3, 250-pound defensive lineman announced his intent to enter the 2022 draft on Instagram on Monday.

Tafua will play in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State, like the other Utes that have declared.

“I am looking forward to playing in front of the best fans in the country one last time on New Year’s Day. Afterward, I will be training and preparing for my next chapter as I declare for the 2022 NFL Draft,” Tafua wrote.

This season, Tafua has 47 tackles, with 9.5 sacks, three pass deflections and a forced fumble. His 9.5 sacks lead the Pac-12.

He was named to the 2021 Pac-12 first team and was the Pac-12 Morris Trophy recipient, given to the conference’s best lineman (as voted on by opposing offensive linemen).

“The last few years have been some of the best of my life,” Tafua wrote. “I am grateful for the constant support of my family, and all of the relationships I’ve built while at Utah. My teammates and coaches will be family forever.”