Former Miami transfer Gionni Paul made his Utah debut, and he made the most of it! Utes fans had all heard how great Paul was on the scout team last year, and all the plays he made before his injury in spring ball, but a broken foot postponed his Utah debut until the fourth week of the season. Some may have worried that Paul would be rusty or out of shape due to the injury and not having played in a game since playing for Miami in 2012. However, talking to Paul at practice last Tuesday, he did not give any indication that the foot injury would slow him down against Michigan.
"In my mind... injury, what injury?" said Paul.
He also made sure to study his playbook, so he would be ready when he was healthy. Yesterday against Michigan (even in a MidWest storm), Paul looked both ready and healthy.
"I stayed in my playbook during the offseason and just rehabbed 24/7, so it was no big adjustment, just getting back together with my teammates and having fun. I was born to play this game. I just wake up and thank god that I came back as fast as I could and counting down the days," said Paul.
Paul was without a doubt ready for his time in the spotlight. He was electric in his first start in a Utes uniform. He caught an interception, recovered a fumble, and led the team in tackles with 14 (10 solo). Having Paul was huge, especially since Utes defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake was without the services of starting linebacker Jason Whittingham. Paul brings energy, instincts, and athleticism that Utah has rarely had in a linebacker. He seemed like he was in on almost every play against Michigan. Color me incredibly impressed with Paul and excited to see what else he will do in the crimson and white.
Welcome to #utahfootball, @GionniPaul! 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery, 14 tackles. #welldone— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) September 21, 2014
Gionni Paul on his first game in two years: So fun. Energetic. Loving. Caring. I feel like we a family here. I ain't feel nothin like it.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) September 21, 2014