3 reasons why rooting for Talanoa Hufanga has been fun and easy

Talanoa Hufanga #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
Talanoa Hufanga #29 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) /
1 of 3

The 49ers have received Pro Bowl-level play from second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga, and he’s quickly emerging as a fan-favorite player.

What is it about the San Francisco 49ers finding hidden-gem talent in Round 5 of the NFL Draft?

In 2017, eventual All-Pro tight end George Kittle was the stud find. Then, in 2019, the Niners landed standout linebacker Dre Greenlaw. And now, they’re hoping cornerback Samuel Womack can be the next impact player.

For the most part, the 2020 draft class has made a modest on-field impact. However, another one of those day-three finds is quickly and loudly rocketing to the top of the attention list: former USC safety Talanoa Hufanga.

There may have been substantial concerns about San Francisco letting longtime veteran starter Jaquiski Tartt walk in free agency last offseason, all but guaranteeing Hufanga would emerge as the No. 1 option in his second year in the league.

Over five weeks into 2022, though, it’s looking as if the 49ers made the right choice.

To date, Hufanga is playing at a Pro Bowl level. He already has a whopping five tackles for a loss, which is a large number for even an in-the-box safety in this timeframe, and he’s also notched a sack and two interceptions, returning one of them for a game-sealing touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4.

Needless to say, Hufanga is emerging as a fan favorite. Let’s explore why that’s been so easy and fun.

No. 1 reason Talanoa Hufanga is easy to root for: His personality is magnetic

NFL players are as diverse and different as any large population of people, so it’s no surprise some players’ personalities are a bit more standoffish or egotistic than others.

Hufanga, though, made his own personality a positive trait not long after the Niners made him one of their fifth-round picks from 2020:

Plenty of fans enjoyed the above interview in which Hufanga expressed his gratitude to San Francisco for taking a chance on him.

On top of that, his personality seems to be following him throughout his young career, making it even easier to root for him both on and off the field.