Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

May 12, 2017 at 3:23am

Former JBLM youth signs contract with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Joel G. Broida Former Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau (13) recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent for the 2017 season.

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The only thing Sefo Liufau wanted was a chance to compete for a spot on a roster in the National Football League. Although he went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft April 27 to 29 in Philadelphia, he will have that chance signing as an undrafted free agent.

Shortly after the end of the seventh round, Liufau was signed to a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — one of several names of undrafted college players going to all 32 NFL teams.

The former University of Colorado quarterback grew up at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. His father is a retired Army sergeant first class who served with Western Regional Medical Command, now Regional Health Command-Pacific.

“(My family) was really happy that I got an opportunity to play for a team,” Liufau said.

Liufau’s uncle, Jack Thompson, known as “The Throwin’ Samoan” from Washington State University, was a quarterback for the Buccaneers from 1983 to 1984 as part of a six-year career in the NFL. Thompson was recently quoted in the Tampa Bay Times recognizing Liufau’s leadership skills and work ethic. Aside from warning Liufau how hot Tampa would be, Thompson’s advice for the former Colorado quarterback was simple.

“Just be yourself, and that will show your character,” Thompson said.

In his four years with the Buffaloes, Liufau totaled 9,763 yards and 60 touchdowns. He was also part of the team’s growth from a 4-9 record in 2015 to 10-4 last season that included a trip to the Alamo Bowl — the school’s first bowl bid since 2007.

NFL.com’s draft profile on Liufau credits Liufau’s 6-foot-3, 232-pound frame and mental toughness that served him well for Colorado’s offense. However, scouts negatively marking his mechanics gave him a 4.8 grade out of 10 — falling in the range of having a 50 percent chance of making a 53-man roster in September.

The odds are not impossible for Liufau to be with the Buccaneers for the start of the regular season. Jermaine Kearse of the Seattle Seahawks, who also grew up at JBLM, has had success in the five seasons, including a touchdown catch at Super Bowl XLVIII.

Liufau said how he got into the NFL didn’t change how he plans to approach training camp and the preseason games.

“Even if you were picked early, you want to have the mindset to work hard; that mindset hasn’t changed for me,” Liufau said.

Liufau will enter training camp with three other quarterbacks on the Tampa Bay roster: last season’s starter in Jameis Winston, returning backup Ryan Griffin and Sean Renfree, who was waived by Atlanta before last season.

Liufau said there can be more details in a NFL playbook than a college playbook, but he remains confident he has put himself in the right spot going into the 2017 season.

“It’s a big jump from college to the NFL,” Liufau said. “You have to show that you can make all the reads and show you can play at this level. I just have to understand the reads and the checks in the pass and run game.”

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