Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
U of U Sports
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

» E-mail Matt Piper

» E-mail Kyle Goon

» Subscribe (RSS)




Lotulelei latest Ute to be selected by Carolina in NFL draft

Star Lotulelei to the Carolina Panthers? We should have guessed that, given Carolina's history.

Lotulelei, taken as the 14th pick in the first round by Carolina in the 2013 NFL draft Thursday, joins a line of Utes who have played for the Panthers.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The current roster includes tackle Jordan Gross (1st round, No. 8, 2003) and receiver Steve Smith (3rd round, 74th overall, 2001).

Defensive back R.J. Stanford was taken in the seventh round (223rd overall) in 2010 before moving onto Miami.

Other players who had stints in Carolina are receiver Kevin Dyson (1998) and defensive tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu (2002).

In addition, former Ute Fred Graves (1969-71) coached the receivers at Carolina in 2011-12 before moving on to the San Diego Chargers.

Lotulelei declined an invitation to New York and watched the draft at his Utah home with more than 100 supporters.

"I couldn't be happier to be a Carolina Panther," Lotulelei said in a statement provided by his agent, Bruce Tollner. "It was great to get the phone call from the Panthers. Real happy...very emotional...real happy to be in this position."

Among those who attended Lotulelei's draft party was Utah coach Kyle Whittingham who was thrilled that Lotulelei went to Carolina, but also surprised Lotulelei didn't go earlier.

"Our guys have done well there and I am happy for him," Whittingham said. "I know what type of player he is. I saw him every day and know his capabilities. There is no doubt in my mind he will anchor that defensive line for years to come."

Lotulelei is the seventh first-round draft pick in Utah football history and is the highest overall draft choice behind Alex Smith (No. 1 in 2005, San Francisco), Gross and Lee Grosscup (No. 10 in 1959, New York Giants).

There are now 23 Utes on current NFL rosters.

"I'm stoked, ready to get out there and go to work," Lotulelei said. "I couldn't be happier with the team that picked me. I'm ready to go out there and do whatever the team needs me to do."

Whittingham said Lotulelei has all the tools he needs to succeed in the pros.

"He is a great technician with good pad level and he is a gap eater," Whittingham said. "He eats up those gaps inside."

Lotulelei, who made six All-America teams as a senior, could graduate from Utah this summer with a bachelor's degree in sociology. He is married with two daughters.

Whittingham hopes several more Utes will land with NFL teams including offensive lineman Sam Brenner, defensive end Joe Kruger and returner Reggie Dunn.

"I had a lot of people contact me about Reggie Dunn after his pro day," Whittingham said. "Hopefully three or four guys still have a shot."

- Lya Wodraska



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Twitter
Football
Basketball
Utah Football Schedule
Utah Basketball Schedule
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.