Expelled CSU D-Lineman Colton Paulhus Not Joining Utah Football Program

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Colton Paulhus, who was expelled from Colorado State University in 2012 for his role in a brutal off-campus beating, might still be hoping for a second chance at a football career, but he won’t find it with the Utah football team.

According to Matt Stephens of The Coloradoan, a post on Paulhus’ Facebook page this week said the player was headed to Utah:

God is amazing y’all. With everything that I’ve been through to be able to play football at the highest level again truly is a blessing. This is an opportunity of a lifetime! I’m leaving to Utah on Saturday and gonna be joining the PAC 12 conference… LEGGGO!

As Lee Corso would say, not so fast. It seems Paulhus’ post was nothing more than wishful thinking.

Trevor Phibbs, a sports writer with the Deseret News, tweeted Wednesday that Utah officially announced Paulhus would not be part of the team this fall.

It’s unclear whether Paulhus actually tried to join the team or if he was just blowing smoke on social media, but if Utah made the conscious decision to deny him admission or prohibit him from joining the football program, it was a smart move.

Paulhus and two other CSU football players — DE Nordly Capi and LB Mike Orakpo — were dismissed from the team and kicked out of the university last spring after a fight that left a freshman student unconscious. Two other students were also injured.

The incident reportedly started because the football players, who were in a car, yelled homophobic slurs at the other students. When they responded, the players exited the car and the fight (or beating, according to one victim) ensued.

All three football players, as well as the freshman who was beaten unconscious, were charged with disorderly conduct, but in a statement in May 2012, Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham said: “As AD, I want to make it absolutely clear that we have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior by our student-athletes.”

The official charges against Paulhus were minor, but if Utah had allowed him to join the program this fall, it would have sent a very, very different message about the kind of program Kyle Whittingham is running in Provo. And with the head coach already inching towards the hot seat headed into 2013, that’s probably not the kind of publicity he’d want to bring to the team.

It’s not as if a reformed Paulhus would have made a huge impact on the Utah defense, anyway. Paulhus was a solid defensive end as a freshman at American River College in Sacramento, but in his lone season at CSU, he played primarily on special teams. With limited appearances in eleven games, he recorded seven tackles.

Of the three expelled CSU players, Paulhus was the one the Rams were least likely to miss, and Utah certainly doesn’t need him.

The Utes do need to replace three starters on the defensive line — Star Lotulelei and Dave and Joe Kruger — but as the official Utah athletics website said last month, depth is almost always one of the Utes’ defensive strengths.

The team has two honorable mention All Pac-12 defensive ends returning (junior Nate Orchard and senior Trevor Reilly, the Utes’ leading tackler last season) and Whittingham also signed five defensive linemen in the 2013 recruiting class.

Paulhus wouldn’t have added much to the Utah football team, and the Utes certainly don’t need an average player with a troubling background clogging up the roster. It doesn’t seem very likely that Paulhus will find a new home at another major football program; even if he does, Utah football is better off without him.

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