Utah defensive end Mika Tafua declares for 2022 NFL Draft
The Utes are losing another one.
Mika Tafua, a junior on the Utah defensive line, has declared for the NFL Draft. He’ll forego his final year of eligibility and make the jump to the NFL. However, Tafua will still play with the team in its upcoming Rose Bowl matchup with Ohio State. He announced on Instagram, with defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley sharing the news to Twitter.
“Leadership is not authority based on a position you have been given; it is influence based on trust you have earned.”
Thank you for your leadership, Mika! One more to go, Captain!! #RSNB pic.twitter.com/Wk9WGlZRRE
— Morgan Scalley (@SafetyPride) December 21, 2021
A fifth-year junior, Tafua led all defensive linemen this season with 48 tackles. He also had 13 tackles for loss and a team-high 9.5 sacks. The Hawaii native also broke up three passes and forced a fumble.
After a redshirt season in 2017, Tafua has played in 45 of a possible 48 games over the last four seasons. He has also drawn starts in 31 of the Utes last 32 games and totaled 37 over the course of his career. Because of the COVID waiver for eligibility the NCAA instituted last season, Tafua could have returned for another year with the Utes, but instead will look to begin his NFL career.
He finishes his career with 132 tackles, 32 TFLs, and 17.5 sacks.
He was named to the 2021 All-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.”