Weber State transfer Logan Lutui finding a home on No. 19 BYU’s injury-riddled defensive line
Walk-on defensive end joined the BYU program in August, but already has a start under his belt — last Saturday against Oregon
If someone had told BYU defensive end Logan Lutui a month ago that he would get the starting nod against the Oregon Ducks in famed Autzen Stadium, the Weber State transfer flat-out would not have believed them.
“I wouldn’t have believed it, man,” Lutui said Tuesday after practice in Provo. “I am not knocking what I can do. But with the little amount of time I have had here, I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It was a shock, but I was excited to play.”
“We (decided) to give him a look, then all of a sudden it was, ‘OK, this kid has got something.’ As we went through fall camp, he just kept showing up and showing out. It was a good thing and now obviously he is traveling, he is playing for us now.” — BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki on Weber State transfer Logan Lutui
Lutui will likely go back to his role as Batty’s backup at the outside end spot on Saturday when No. 19 BYU hosts Wyoming, because 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 West Valley City’s Hunter High, joined the program in early August after transferring from Weber State. He gave up his scholarship with the Wildcats to walk on at BYU.
“First off, I loved it up at Weber State. We had a great program. Loved my coaches, coach (Jay) Hill, coach (Kite) Afeaki, coach (Grant) Duff,” Lutui said. “But yeah, it was just a decision that me and my wife made, that was the best for us, for our family. She was expecting at the time.”
Lutui married Selai Damuni, the daughter of BYU director of football relations Jack Damuni, in 2021. The couple had a son, Ezekiel “Ziggy” Lutui, last May.
“We were intending to step away from football, but we found an opportunity over here, and now we are here, and loving it,” Lutui said.
Although he’s not on scholarship at BYU, he’s thankful for the NIL program for walk-ons sponsored by Built Brands that allows him to chase his dream.
“Coming out of high school, I only had two offers, one from Southern Utah and one from Weber State,” he said. “I didn’t get too much recruitment in high school, so it is pretty surreal to be now playing for a program like BYU.”
Lutui served a mission to Auckland, New Zealand, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after graduating from Hunter.
“Honestly, just looking at BYU, I felt like there were a lot of good opportunities here for me. It was good for my family, and my wife to be closer to home,” he said. “It was good for me. I felt like I could compete at a high level. I am glad I am here, too.”
He has two more seasons of eligibility remaining after this one.
Defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said Lutui just fell into the Cougars’ lap, and they have been pleasantly surprised with what he can do.
“He’s got a lot of ability, a lot of good football ahead of him,” Tuiaki said. “He is physical. He brings a different type of physicality to the game. All the players that are playing the position, we ask a lot of them, as far as just coverages and knowing things. He is pretty sharp. He understands things a lot quicker than I thought he would, being new in the program, new in the system.”
Tuiaki said he thought Lutui would be a scout team player this first season, but a combination of injuries and Lutui’s rapid development have helped the young father get on the field.
“We (decided) to give him a look, then all of a sudden it was, ‘OK, this kid has got something,’” Tuiaki said. “As we went through fall camp, he just kept showing up and showing out. It was a good thing and obviously he is traveling, he is 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 he was a really violent and explosive player,” Hadley said. “He got some snaps that I came away really encouraged and impressed by.”
Lutui actually made a fifth tackle in the Oregon game, but it won’t count in the final stats. After linebacker Ben Bywater intercepted a deflected pass, Lutui accidentally ran into him and knocked him to the turf.
“I caught it, and I am like, ‘Why is my own guy trying to tackle me?’” Bywater said. “I love Logan. I know he was just trying to block the receiver behind me. No worries.”
Cougars on the air
Wyoming (3-1) at No. 19 BYU (2-1)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM