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Freshman LB Tano Letuli embracing West Point challenges, makes travel squad

Photo by Lynn Fern/Black Knight Nation

Tano Letuli will be one of at least four Army freshman to eat first during the football dinner at the team hotel Friday night – a tradition under Jeff Monken at West Point.

Letuli’s name may not appear on Army’s depth chart for its season opener at Louisiana-Monroe Saturday. However, The linebacker has earned the trip to his first career college game and could see action on special teams for the Black Knights.

Letuli has never taken the easy way or route. Perhaps, that’s why he chose Army over about 10 offers out of Cathedral Catholic in San Diego, Calif.

“I felt like I fit in really well here with the mentality,” Letuli said. “The Black Knight mentality, taking everything so serious and going out there was a lot of energy, going out there intentional and trying to get better every single day. I think West Point, this brotherhood and this culture that we have here is something  I’m excited to fall into.”

Letuli said he’s “always wanted to see something different and always wanted to seek something where I am uncomfortable.” Cathedral Catholic was an hour away from Letuli’s home. He thrived there, starting three years and helped Cathedral to a state championship his senior year in 2021.

“I don’t come from a military family,” Letuli said. “No one in my family is military. Being in a military environment would be uncomfortable for me, but I knew West Point was a chance for me to be the best version of myself. I know that is said a lot.

“At other schools, I feel like you are used as just a football player and in the recruiting it’s all about ‘football this and football that’ and how I can make my life easier so I can be more focused on football. Here, I feel like every single part of yourself is being challenged every single day.”

Army coach Jeff Monken says Letuli’s “greatest contribution” will going on special teams early in his career. But, Monken does expect to push Letuli to push an experienced group of inside linebackers including senior starters Leo Lowin and Spencer Jones.

“He reacts really really well to action in front of him and his keys,” Monken said. ” I think before the season is over he may be a guy that can climb high enough on the depth chart that he might give some competition to guys at the top of the depth chart.”

Letuli isn’t concerned about the depth chart. He’s locked in on helping Army start the season with a win.

“I really have that head-down mentality,” Letuli said. “I want to keep on doing everything I possibly can and not let anything distract me. I want to go out there every day and get better.”

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