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CU Buffs hire former USC defensive line coach Vic So’oto

Former NFL player spent last two seasons with Trojans

Colorado has hired former Southern California defensive line coach Vic So’oto to coach the same position for the Buffaloes. (Photo courtesy of Vic So’oto)

Former Southern California defensive line coach Vic So’oto is coming to Boulder.

On Thursday, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell announced he has hired So’oto to coach the Buffaloes’ defensive line.

So’oto, 34, is a former NFL player who spent the past two seasons coaching the defensive line at USC. He was not retained by new Trojans coach Lincoln Riley, however.

“I am excited to become a part of Karl Dorrell’s staff at the University of Colorado,” So’oto said in a press release. “Teaching and building are my passions and I can’t wait to get started in Boulder.”

The hiring of So’oto is subject to the approval of CU’s Board of Regents. It also leaves the Buffs unsettled with its defensive staff.

Cornerbacks coach Demetrice Martin left the Buffs last week to take a similar position at Oregon. Instead of replacing Martin with a cornerbacks coach, the Buffs replaced him with So’oto.

For the past two years, the Buffs’ defensive line has been coached by defensive coordinator Chris Wilson. Per a CU press release, Wilson will continue in the coordinator role, but will coach “a position to be determined.”

Dorrell jumped at the chance to get So’oto, an up-and-coming position coach who has a good reputation as a recruiter on the West Coast.

“Vic is an impressive young coach,” Dorrell said.  “He is a great communicator, teacher and developer who relates very well with his players.   His body of work speaks volumes, and I know our players will gravitate to his teaching style.”

Prior to his two seasons at USC, So’oto spent four seasons at Virginia, including the last three as the defensive line coach.

So’oto was a four-year letter winner at BYU from 2005-10. He came to BYU as a tight end before playing his final three years on defense (linebacker and defensive end). He made the All-Mountain West first team in 2010.

Undrafted in 2011, So’oto signed with the Green Bay Packers that year and spent three-plus years in the NFL. He spent time in the NFL with the Packers, Oakland Raiders, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers.

So’oto began his coaching career in 2015 at BYU. He was hired by his former head coach, Bronco Mendenhall, as an intern that season. When Mendenhall took the head coaching job at Virginia in 2016, he brought So’oto with him as a graduate assistant.

After one season as a GA with the Cavaliers, So’oto was promoted to defensive line coach. In his first year as the defensive line coach (2017), the Cavaliers were 102nd nationally in rush defense (199.31). In 2018, they improved to 47th (147.54) and in 2019 improved to 40th (138.14). In 2019, the Cavs were tied for 7th nationally in sacks (46).

At USC, So’oto coached two first-team All-Pac-12 defensive linemen: Marlon Tuipulotu in 2020 and Tuli Tuipulotu this year. So’oto also played in role in USC signing defensive lineman Korey Foreman, regarded by some as the No. 1 recruit in the nation in 2021.

A second cousin to the late Pro Football Hall of Famer Junior Seau, So’oto is married with five children.