Folorunso Fatukasi turns 26 on Thursday, so Jet X dishes out three fun facts to know about the New York Jets interior beast.
Fatukasi, who turns 26 on Thursday, was a constant visitor into opposing backfields. Over 15 games (8 starts), Fatukasi set new career-bests with 42 tackles and a pair of sacks.
The Connecticut alum, chosen in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL draft, is set to be a free agent this offseason, but his comments toward the end of the season suggest he’d like to stick around and grow with this group.
“What I like about our group, and really just the entire defense, the work doesn’t stop for them. It’s always figuring out what to do, how to do it, where to go, how to get it done,” Fatukasi said in a report from team scribe Randy Lange. “And we just take that mindset into work, and more times than not despite our adversities, it showed up in games, that all right, we’re going to keep fighting. And this is what I respected the most about this group, that we held each other accountable, we helped each other, we competed with one another.”
This isn’t the first time he’s been making tackles for New York
A native of Far Rockaway, Fatukasi is used to be a defensive stud for a team representing New York. For four seasons, Fatukasi was a star at Beach Channel High School in Queens, representing the Dolphins.
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Foley was a two-sport star but eventually decided on football. During his senior season, Fatukasi was named a second-team All-Queens/Long Island all-star by the New York Daily News and picked up 10 sacks.
Fatukasi was the first player in Beach Channel history to go directly from graduation to an FBS/Division I-A school.
Football is part of the Fatukasi bloodline
A Fatukasi bowl in the NFL could loom on the horizon. In addition to Foley’s NFL exploits, the Fatukasi family is represented on the gridiron by Olakunde, who played a major in the resurgence of Rutgers football last season. Despite the Scarlet Knights being limited to nine games, Olakunde was eighth in the nation in tackles (101).
He’ll return to Piscataway for a fifth season through a waiver granted by the NCAA through the ongoing health crisis. Their younger brother Tunde, who will be a sophomore, also bears an “R” on his helmet.
“(It’s) a blessing. It’s not our doing, but I’m grateful for it,” Foley said of playing the Garden State with his brothers. “They’re happy for me, and I’m proud and happy for my brothers. We take our craft seriously.”
Pro Football Focus thought had a particularly great year
Granted an extended opportunity after injuries struck the front seven and Steve McLendon was dealt to Tampa Bay, Fatukasi established himself as one of the top run defenders in the league.
Analytic statistical service Pro Football Focus was particularly pleased with Fatukasi’s performance, as they gave him a grade of 86.2 in stopping the run. At the end of the year, he ranked 92nd in PFF’s Top 101 players for the 2020 season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags