Tuli Tuipulotu showed up to his introductory press conference with the Chargers on Saturday sporting a Los Angeles Lakers hoodie.

The Hawthorne native played his high school ball for Lawndale, where he was an all-district first-teamer as a terror off the edge. He signed with USC and played like a terror for opposing offensive lines wherever coaches chose to line him up. Then, on Friday night, he was drafted by the Chargers with the 54th overall pick (second round).

Los Angeles will remain his football home.

“I’m happy, for sure,” he told reporters Friday night. “I haven’t left LA for most of my life. I was kind of preparing myself to like go somewhere far, like all the way to the East Coast or something, but I’m happy to stay home and be close to family.”

Proximity certainly allowed L.A. to see as much of Tuipulotu as they wanted during the 2022 season. He led the country in sacks (13.5) and finished second nationally in tackles for loss (22). But it was the way he lined up that most attracted the team’s general manager, Tom Telesco.

“It’s a player that we had seen a lot of, obviously. I guess one of the big things that we really like about him is his versatility between playing some edge and then even how Alex Grinch used him at USC sometimes as an inside, interior pass rusher,” Telesco said Friday night. “He’s really quick, great hand use. Just has a great ability to get off blocks one way or another, whether it’s instincts, slipperiness, hand use, power. He just is an active, active player.

“He has big size, is powerful. He can play on the outside. We’ll probably use him a lot of different ways.”

With the Chargers already rostering a pair of stars on the edge in Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, Tuipulotu’s ability to rush the passer lined up inside or out should give L.A. the ability to fit him into a number of packages.

“He has a lot of the characteristics that we think translate to playing championship defense,” said coach Brandon Staley. “He’s kind of in that mold of a (Vikings edge) Za’Darius Smith where he can play outside on early downs and then go inside and rush the passer.

“He’s just a rugged, tough player. He’s a lot of this, he’s a lot of that, and that’s what makes him a really unique player. He’s a natural player. That’s why he makes so many plays, because he’s not just doing it on the edge and he’s not just doing it inside, he’s doing it from everywhere. When you’re winning like that consistently, that means you’re a damn good football player, and that’s what he is.”

And Tuipulotu is ready to get after it with the Chargers.

“It’s kind of funny, I wasn’t even really watching the draft. I was pretty much outside with the family, we were all chilling outside,” he said. “It was a blessing, for sure. I truly wasn’t expecting it. I’m just excited to get to work.”