The Wisconsin Badgers made it through spring practice without too many injuries but, unfortunately, a disproportionate number affected the safety position. Jim Leonhard’s primary unit was shorthanded for much of spring and he mentioned that they might look to address their depth via the transfer portal.
Well, on Saturday UW offered Utah safety Kamo’i Latu (Honolulu) a scholarship a few days after he entered the portal.
Coming out of high school, Latu was rated as a 3-star prospect by the 247 Composite in the 2020 class. He was listed as the No. 1,230 player and No. 88 safety in the country as well as the No. 12 player in Hawaii. He played his high school ball at Saint Louis High School and, if that name sounds familiar, was teammates with UW’s star OLB Nick Herbig. Latu was first team all-state in both his junior and senior seasons at Saint Louis while also being invited to the 2020 Polynesian Bowl.
Standing at an even 6-foot and weighing 195 pounds, Latu has already played in 19 games in his career, starting one. His first season, the COVID-shortened 2020 one, he played in all five of Utah’s games and made four tackles, all on special teams.
Last year he played in all 14 games for the Pac-12 champion Utes, racking up 19 tackles and three passes broken up. In his one start, against Southern Cal, he had a team-high 10 tackles and earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honors.
With safeties Preston Zachman and Travian Blaylock out indefinitely, the Badgers only have four healthy safeties on the roster, and two of them (Owen Arnett and Bryce Carey) are walk-ons that have no experience playing collegiately. Hunter Wohler and John Torchio were the two safeties taking reps with the first team defense at the end of spring practice and, while there are some cornerbacks who could fill in at safety in a pinch, grabbing Latu would definitely alleviate the depth concerns at the position.