Tipoti (pronounced tee-PO-tee) was one of the top high school prospects out of Hawaii in the 2008 recruiting class, but chose not to follow in his father Nofos footsteps to play for the Rainbow Warriors. Instead, he headed to the mainland to continue Cals three-year streak of hearing the name of one of their defensive linemen called during the NFL draft (Tyson Alualu in 2010, Cameron Jordan in 2011, Trevor Guyton in 2012).
He was named a co-Defensive Scout Player of the Year during his 2008 redshirt season, then earned four starts among his 12 games played as a sophomore (21 tackles-20 assisted) due to an injury to Derrick Hill. Tipoti came off the bench for 10 contests in 2010 (13 tackles, 1.5 for loss), and began his junior year as a reserve, as well, before starting seven of the teams last eight games (25 tackles, four for loss, 1.5 sacks) to earn honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors from league coaches.
In 2012, Tipoti appeared in 10 games and made eight starts. He registered a career-high 31 tackles. He entered the season on the watch list for the Outland Trophy, which is presented to college football's top interior lineman on either side of the ball.
Excellent quickness off the snap is immediately noticeable, pops centers and guards when playing the run or squeaking through a tight gap when attempting to get into the backfield. Reach-blocks can be difficult to execute against him. His game isnt just about his quick feet he plays with a relentless nature and has good upper-body strength to bring heavy heads to bear on initial contact. Rips his hands off his man to work towards the quarterback if the ball stays in the pocket too long.
Viewed as nose tackle/three-technique tweener by some because he lacks elite athleticism. Shortish frame makes him susceptible to movement by double teams, also gets his shoulders turned by stronger guards when man-up. Shows hustle to the sideline but doesnt have the closing speed to track down NFL ballcarriers unless they are slowed up by his teammates.
This quick and strong nose tackle prospect looks to be the next Cal defensive lineman drafted by an NFL team. And while not possessing the elite athleticism and closing speed (four tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks in 2011) to rank as a top prospect, Tipoti will be a tough cut once he shows his wares in an NFL training camp.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.