Dazmanian Devil: ASU football's Tautalatasi is set to shine in his senior season

Dasmond Tautalatasi is a hard-hitting defensive back ready to take the Pac-12, and fatherhood, by storm

At the Tillman position in ASU's new 3-3-5 defensive scheme sits a punishing defensive back. In his redshirt senior season Dasmond Tautalatasi gets his opportunity to leave a mark on something other than an opponent. 

On Aug. 11 Tautalatasi was practicing as a second teamer in the Sun Devils' first scrimmage. Later in the scrimmage when redshirt senior defensive back Tyler Whiley suffered a season-ending broken right ankle injury, it was Tautalatasi’s turn to step up.

“Yeah, obviously injuries are never fun,” he said. “They are a part of football, but being able to step into a position that really fits the play style, that I like to do.”

Throughout camp, Tautalatasi has showcased his versatility in both the run game and pass defense.

Tautalatasi made a name for himself when he 'dropped the hammer' on an Oregon wide receiver in ASU's 37-35 win over the Ducks in September of 2017.

Tautalatasi's production increased over the course of his junior season. He recorded 22 total tackles, three pass deflections and one fumble recovery.

As he embarks on his senior season against the University of Texas, San Antonio Roadrunners on Saturday, Tautalatasi wants to leave a lasting Sun Devil legacy.

“Once I leave here I want people to say, 'remember this player, he did this and that, (a) great player on and off the field,'" Tautalatasi said. “Definitely looking forward to this last year and putting it all out there.”

The ASU football coaches practice the next man up mentality with their players, especially with injuries and other situations. For defensive backs coach Tony White, his decision to give first team reps to Tautalatasi was all credited to the player.

“He’s a perfect example of a guy who early on was down on the depth chart,” White said. “To his credit, being an older guy, he's a guy who payed attention in meetings, a guy who came to work everyday.”

With his senior status, Tautalatasi caught the eyes of White as he continued to improve in practices from spring all the way into the start of the season.

“He's a guy who didn't take as many reps at the Tillman spot,” White said. “As you can see through practice he's getting better and better, and being in those positions where we need him to be in.”

Head coach Herm Edwards will be relying on veteran leadership on the defensive side of the ball this season because the Sun Devils plan on using eight freshman. 

“He has a lot of experience, he has some strengths and qualities that we have to use to put him in position to make plays,” Edwards said. “You like guys with experience, you will walk into the stadium and it will be very comfortable for him.”

Tautalatasi has another reason to play football: his son Kahoku, who turns 2-years-old in September.

“It's emotional. I would just be in warmup lines and behind me I hear him saying, ‘daddy, daddy,'" Tautalatasi said. “Definitely adds a whole different perspective on you now. I'm not only playing for me — I have a family to think about.”

Tautalatasi's maturity continues to reach another level as he balances the competition for a starting position, but also fatherhood. 

“If you really tally up the reps he's gotten since the spring, he didn't get that many just through natural rotations. Then all of a sudden he's getting every rep with the ones," White said. "He’s shown up and (is) starting to be in those spots. A lot of those are because he's so mature, and again he takes it seriously — he studies, he's always aware of things going on, and that's on and off the field.”

Reach the reporter at sbemanue@asu.edu or follow @SebastianEman5 on Twitter. 

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepresssport on Twitter. 

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.