RESPECT. Interview: Defensive Tackle Josh Fatu Discusses How USC Prepared Him For The NFL And More

Courtesy Of Josh Fatu

Josh Fatu is a defensive tackle out of Lakewood, California. He attended Lakewood (Calif.) High and, as a junior in 2012, he averaged three tackles a game. The following year he made the 2013 All-Moore League first team as a senior 2-way lineman.

As a freshman at Long Beach CC in 2014, Fatu had 37 tackles, including 10.5 for losses (with eight sacks), an interception, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a deflection and the team went 9-2.

In 2015, as a sophomore, he was named to the Prep Star JUCO All-American, JC Athletic Bureau All-California Region III first team and All-Southern California Football Association National Division Central League first team (unanimous).  He had 52 tackles, including 14 for losses, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a deflection in 2015 as Long Beach CC went 10-2, winning the Southern California Bowl and advancing to the SoCal Regional Championship.

Fatu would transfer to USC for his junior year in the fall of 2016 and often was used a backup at defensive tackle.  He played in every game, but the game against UCLA, which he sat out with an ankle sprain suffered against the University of Washington. In 2017, Fatu played a major role on the USC defensive and helped the team reach the Cotton Bowl, but fell short against Ohio State.

I Landon Buford had the opportunity to speak with the USC Draft prospect about his Pro Day, how he wants to use his platform to create change, and Sam Darnold‘s leadership in pressure situations. You can read the full interview with the TCR Sports Performance client below!

How has USC Prepared you for the next level?

It prepared me very well for the next level by giving the proper techniques need to be a professional football player.

You and Rasheem Green were a stable on the USC Defensive for the last couple years. Can you talk about what that experience was like?

It was an experience and a blessing playing with Rasheem. Coming from a junior college Rasheem had been at USC for a couple of years, and he thought me some of the small things needed to be successful. For example, blocking techniques and again it was a great experience playing alongside Rasheem Green.

Last year you guys lost a tough game in Pullman, which many people thought it was a trap game playing on a short week. In your opinion why wasn’t the defense able to get stops when they really need to?

We just made all around mistake and were not focused on our assignments against Washington State. As a team, we were not focused on the game with a cocky attitude, arrogant, and let them get the best of us they were more prepared, and we allowed them to take advantage of us not being focused on the game.

USC also had an opportunity to get a little revenge on the Texas Longhorns in an overtime thriller earlier this year. Can you talk about Sam Darnold’s leadership style in pressure situations?

He just a great quarterback and I have never played with a quarterback with his attributes being poised, calm, and collected. He is very good under pressure and can rally the team when the game is on the line. Sam is just able to keep everything together that has allowed us to win games.

How would you compare it to your leadership style on the defensive side of the ball?

I was not a really a vocal leader I just like to play, have fun, and make sure we all played together. Also, making sure that we played at a high level and do not miss our assignments on defensive. Allowing us not to want to let each other down on the field.

Can you talk about your Pro Day?

I think it went okay, obviously, there is always room for improvement.  I could have executed things a little better, but if I give my full endurance that is all that matters.

You had to play in the Rose Bowl against Penn State in 2017 and the Cotton Bowl in 2018 against Ohio State. Can you talk about both experiences?

In the Rose Bowl, I was not very effective during that game, but I was able to watch the great leaders that we had on the team. They always stuck together no matter what the score was and never game up. That was ultimately, which allowed us to come and win in overtime against Penn State.  In the Cotton Bowl, we made a lot of mental mistakes on defensive we were able to shut them down in the second half. We were not able to execute on offense, but as a team, we all made mistakes that cost us the game.

What would be your ideal situation at the next level?

I feel that I can play and execute in any situation that is presented to me at the next level.

You recently had the opportunity to work out for the Los Angeles Chargers. What are your thoughts on possibly being to stay local and playing at the next level?

For me, it’s a blessing for any team to draft me at the next level. I’m honored to play in the NFL and if it is with LA Chargers or anyone else I going to go there and give it my all.

Can you talk about the battles you and Viane Talamaivao use to have in practice?

Viane was a very high-level tactical player and was able to execute his techniques to perfection. He has great footwork and handwork. Also, he is very aware what his defensive assignment will do before they make a move.

What will be your first purchase after you receive your first NFL check?

I will save my first check and only buy things that I need, but eventually, my goal is to purchase my parents a house.

How do you want to use your platform to change the world or be effective in your community?

I just want to show the kids that you with god and hard work you do anything you want to do in life. You can be successful in anything you put your mind to if you put the work in. I will use my platform to be an example of happens when you work hard and follow your dreams.

What music do you listen to before games?

Old school Samoan music is what I used to get motivated before games at USC.

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About Landon Buford Washington State graduate. Past interviews include Grammy Award winner Kenny G, David Banner, WNBA President Lisa Borders, What's Trending's CEO Shira Lazar, Ice Cube, NBC's 'Chicago PD' actor LaRoyce Hawkins, 'Family Matters' actor Darius McCrary, En Vogue's Maxine Jones, Team USA Track & Field member Norris Frederick, James Kyson, WNBA great Lauren Jackson and more.