Whole Nine Sports

ACC Player Spotlight: Tutu Atwell

Tutu Atwell
Chaz Turnbow
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Today we’re going to focus on Louisville WR Chatarius Atwell Jr., who we know as Tutu Atwell. Tutu enrolled in Louisville in 2018 coming off of a HS career as a dual threat QB who passed for over 4000 yards and rushed for over 1500. After a pedestrian freshman season, he broke out in 2019. As a sophomore he totalled 70 catches for 1,270 yards, which led the ACC and set a school record, and 12 touchdowns, tying a school record. I took a dive into the film and looked at what traits made him so productive in 2019, and what he needs to improve on to raise his stock as much as he is eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft.

When you look at Atwell you immediately notice his small stature. Standing only 5’9 and 165 lbs. looks to be an immediate concern for durability purposes, however he has played in every game since stepping on campus. He lined up almost exclusively in the slot and went in motion a ton, limiting his exposure to press coverage while also keeping the defense on their toes. His routes stayed primarily in the shallow and deep portions of the field, leaving much to be desired in the intermediate portions of the field.

Louisville Tutu
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

His best trait is play speed, defenses have to account for a man who ran a 10.84 100 meter dash in high school. It is also said that he ran a 4.33 40 yard dash, the fastest on the team. His speed translates to his yards after catch, or YAC ability. In space he is a nightmare to a defender. Small surface area, low to the ground, shifty, fast, can break angles and ankles, everything that makes it difficult to tackle people. A field stretcher who can also wreak havoc with the ball in his hands in the short area of the field. 

His biggest weakness is his inexperience. He rarely plays on the outside so he has very few reps dealing with press coverage. Not a detailed route runner either, but he separates with his speed. My biggest concern is his hands. In the four games I watched, I saw him drop two touchdowns. One against Clemson down 10, and another against ND in a tie ball game. You can’t lose focus against those teams in potentially game changing plays. He has been credited with 9 drops on 153 targets in his first two seasons. 

Louisville Atwell

In 2020 I want to see two things improve from him to raise his stock. I want to minimize the drops, that’s number one. Number two I need to see some progression in the intermediate area of the field during routes. I love the usage out of the slot and on jet sweeps, but that can’t be all you are unless you want to be Tavon Austin. The NFL is moving more towards a space game, and Atwell is a space player, those areas need to improve if you’re going to see playing time in the league.