Warrior of Liberty City: Rams Rookie Bringing Miami Grit to the Rams

Tutu Atwell

Getty Tutu Atwell stretches out his hands for the reception against Georgia Tech during a 2018 game with the Louisville Cardinals.

Tutu Atwell spent his Fourth of July in Liberty City, Florida by sharing videos of fireworks going off in his town on his personal Instagram account.

Seems fitting the wide receiver was around fireworks. The Los Angeles Rams rookie is expected to provide something identical to the Fourth of July sparks for the offense this season.

Atwell, who got the Rams’ draft rolling as the team’s first 2021 selection (No. 57 overall) in May, is entering this season as someone labeled to light up defenses like the holiday explosions he caught on his camera. At 5-foot-9, 165-pounds, Atwell has seen his mix of people who rave about his explosive game and the critics who don’t believe his frame is built for the NFL rigors.

But Atwell reminded reporters on May 26 that he knows how to take hits and immediately get back up. It’s because growing up in Miami’s most troubled neighborhood gave him that scrapper element and taught him to develop that Liberty City toughness, which was shown to the world in 2018 on the Starz network through the documentary “Warriors of Liberty City” produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.

“I’m very proud of myself. I’ve always let the outside just talk,” Atwell told reporters when it comes to responding to critics of his stature. “My focus was do what I have to do and make it to the next level. I’m proud of myself and I’m here to do good things for this team and hope I can do a lot to help us win.”

From Liberty City to Louisville to L.A.

The Warriors Youth Football program has seen a rise in future NFL talent. Before Atwell, notable alums are Chad Johnson, Antonio Brown and Devonta Freeman.

But the program is much more than just an outlet with shoulder pads and helmets. It’s true purpose is to serve as a safe haven for kids who live in Miami’s most impoverished and roughest part of the city.

The program was founded by Luther Campbell, better known as “Uncle Luke” from the Miami Hip-Hop group 2 Live Crew.

Atwell was among the featured stars in the six-episode docuseries that explores the neighborhood the kids come from and the tribulations they face, including one family that was affected by the impact of Hurricane Irma. But Atwell proved to be a new inspirational light for the Liberty City youth, becoming a dynamic Miami Northwestern High dual-threat quarterback who left a trail of gassed defenders who tried to get at least a fingertip on him, as seen here in his Hudl video.

Louisville converted him into a wide receiver, which only turned him into one of the most dangerous players in Atlantic Coast Conference country. He went on to produce 10 games of 100-yards receiving or more. He also finished 10 games where he averaged more than 20 yards a catch. The Rams ignored the size dilemma, as head coach Sean McVay told him “I’ve got a lot of respect for your game.”

He’s gone from Liberty City, to Louisville to now L.A. But he has a promise to give back to the community that raised him.

‘It’s a Miami Thing’

Here’s another way Atwell makes up for his lack of size: By playing with a lot of bravado and letting his game go off. He shared he gets it from being in “The Magic City.”

“It’s a Miami thing. I just play with a lot of swag,” Atwell explained. “I feel if you don’t have swag, the game won’t be fun. You’ve got to put your own little swag to it and everything else will come with it.”

But having swagger wasn’t the only trait that got Atwell into the league. Using his muscular organ sandwiched in between his lungs got him far.

“A big part of it is having heart. If you don’t have heart, you probably shouldn’t be playing football,” Atwell said.

And for defenders who think he’ll be easy pickings, Atwell already has a plan mapped out the moment he draws contact.

“Big hit, I’m going to get up. Any type of hit, I’m going to get back up at the end of the day,” Atwell said.

Atwell proved to be a “Warrior of Liberty City.” Now the Rams will aim to light up this new firework so he can burst and leave amazement.

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