The Jaguars have signed fourth-round defensive tackle Jay Tufele, the team announced today. Tufele was selected with the team’s first pick in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft out of USC.
Selected 106th overall, Tufele appeared in 25 games from 2018-19 with the Trojans, accounting for 65 tackles (36 solo), 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.
In 2019, he earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors will also winning USC Defensive Lineman of the Year for the second-straight season where he recorded 42 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. He would earn All-Pac-12 Second Team in 2018.
Tufele was selected by Jacksonville in an effort to shore up the team’s defensive line, something that head coach Urban Meyer made a priority during free agency and the draft. Tufele became the third consecutive defensive player the team selected this year.
Tufele was unable to participate in the team’s rookie minicamp due to providing inconclusive COVID-19 test results. Meyer stated during his post-practice press conference last Saturday that the rookie defensive tackle would likely be in the building over the next couple of days, however.
Now that he’s signed, Tufele has made his way to the building, participating in the team’s voluntary OTAs, and will likely compete for serious playing time during his first year with the team. Tufele will wear No. 97.
“Put on the film,” Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke said shortly after the draft.
“He’s a plus two guy all the way, great effort player, has the type of mindset that we’re looking for. Coach [Urban Meyer] was very familiar with him based on the recruiting process coming out. [He’s a] quality guy and quality football player.”
Jacksonville has now signed four out of nine of its draft picks so far, including Jalen Camp (Round 6), defensive end/outside linebacker Jordan Smith (Round 4) and tight end Luke Farrell (Round 5).