Former Washington OLB Laiatu Latu announces commitment to UCLA
UCLA landed a major transfer commitment Friday from within the conference.
Former Washington outside linebacker Laiatu Latu announced on Twitter that he intends to attempt his football comeback with the UCLA Bruins.
— LAIATU (@laiatu_latu) December 31, 2021
“My situation was a unique one and I’m very sad that I was unable to continue playing at the University of Washington, but God has his plans and God gives his hardest battles to his toughest soldiers,” Latu wrote.
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound junior edge rusher was forced to medically retire this past April because of a neck injury sustained during the fall of 2020.
“We consulted I believe about five of the best specialists in the country, guys that work with different NFL clubs where different players have had the same injury,” former UW head coach Jimmy Lake said following the Huskies’ first practice of the spring, per The Seattle Times. “Of course with our medical personnel, we exhausted every professional we could think of to make sure this was the proper decision. So this decision came in the last couple months, after consultation with all the medical professionals.
“It was a tough decision to make for sure, but it’s for the safety of our players first and foremost. We never want to put anybody in danger of possibly not being able to use his extremities the rest of his life. We’d never want that to happen to anybody.”
A native of Sacramento, Latu did not play in 2020 because of the injury. As a true freshman in 2019, he produced 16 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks in 12 games. Latu arrived in Seattle as a 4-star weakside defensive end prospect and a top-150 player overall, per the 247 Composite. He was the 128th-ranked prospect in the 2019 class.
He’ll still have three years of eligibility to play for the Bruins. If he can regain the form he enjoyed prior to suffering the injury, UCLA is getting a special talent on the defensive side of the ball.