According to Washington football head coach Jimmy Lake, fans can expect defensive impact player Zion Tupuola-Fetui back this Fall.
‘ZTF’, as Tupuola-Fetui is commonly referred to as, tore his Achilles on a non-contact play during spring practice. Initial reports said he could expect to be out for 6-10 months but Zion is already looking like he’s going to beat that timeline.
On day 1 of Fall camp, the All-American edge rusher was notably present on the sidelines in a walking boot and was seen the following day sporting some cleats and even giving teammates some pointers while sitting out of on-field activities.
It’s unsure when we will see him back on the field but Coach Lake sounds very confident he will be ready at some point during the regular season.
Despite a shortened season, Tupuola-Fetui burst onto the scene for the Huskies in 2020 when he replaced linebacker Laiatu Latu. Latu was forced to medically retire after an unfortunate neck injury. In four games, Zion had 13 total tackles, seven sacks, and three forced fumbles including one recovery.
‘ZTF’ is a major presence that will be missed until he is able to return to the Huskies’ defense. He’s a powerful and athletic edge rusher who is taking his recovery seriously.
In the meantime, Washington football has several decent options for Tupuola-Fetui’s replacement.
Incoming five-star freshman Sav’ell Smalls is likely the candidate of choice to fill in for Zion while he continues to heal up. Smalls was a highly coveted prospect coming out of high school and has the chance to make the most of the new redshirt rules in the upcoming season.
Other options to fill in for Zion include sixth-year senior Ryan Bowman and Texas A&M transfer Jeremiah Martin. No matter what, the Huskies have a solid rotation of players who can put in work.