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Utah football receives commit from 4-star linebacker

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The Utah Utes run onto the field before a college football game against Washington State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Utah football received a commitment from linebacker Mason Tufaga, a four-star prospect from Hawaii, on Monday.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Kyle Whittingham’s program landed a commitment from another high-rated defensive prospect Monday.

Linebacker Mason Tufaga, who hails from Honolulu, Hawaii, and is rated a four-star prospect in 247 Sports’ composite rankings, announced Monday morning he will sign with the Utes.

Tufaga showed appreciation for those who’ve helped him reach this stage. “I deeply thank my parents and grandparents to the support that they’ve show over the years,” he wrote in a message shared on Twitter. “I have deep gratitude for the coaches and mentors that have guided me throughout my early years.”

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Tufaga prepped at St. Louis High in Honolulu and is the son of former Utah linebacker Wes Tufaga, who played for the Utes from 1997-2000.

247 Sports’ Blair Angulo reported that Mason Tufaga has opted to forgo his senior season — high school football in Hawaii is being pushed back to early 2021 — and plans to sign at Utah during the early signing period, allowing him to enroll early at the school.

“It’s always been pretty easy to talk to the Utah coaches because my dad played with coach Lewis Powell, the defensive line coach, and they’re all close,” Tufaga told Angulo. “The connection has always been there and the comfort level has always been high with them.”

Oregon and Nebraska were among Tufaga’s other top suitors, according to Angulo. Tufaga is the ninth player to commit to Utah’s 2021 class, per 247 Sports, along with fellow linebackers Trey Reynolds (of Queen Creek, Arizona) and Jonah Elliss (Moscow, Idaho), whose father Luther Elliss played at Utah and was a first-round NFL draft selection.

Tufaga is listed as an inside linebacker, and he discussed with Angulo how he anticipates he’ll fit in Utah’s system.

“They see me playing a will linebacker in their scheme — I could drop back into coverage but also be helpful as a pass rusher on some plays. I love the fit and everything there,” Tufaga said.