One of the more impressive defensive players so far this season after two games is senior Linebacker Gionni Paul from Utah.
Against Michigan, this fiery defender was all over the field and finished with 14 tackles including one for loss.
The only problem was, he also picked up 2 penalties for unnecessary roughness or taking a cheap
shot. That happens some times when you are a very aggressive Linebacker. However, too many cheap shot penalties will get you benched eventually.
The Winter Haven, Florida product, Gionni Paul, began his career at Miami. Supposedly, he wanted to go to Miami because his hero was Ray Lewis the former Miami Linebacker and later Baltimore Ravens star had been a huge influence on him.
During the recruiting process, he found himself liking Dennis Erickson from Arizona State, who was a former Hurricane head coach. He liked Erickson so much, but the lure of playing at Miami was too much to overcome for Paul.
Paul played sparingly as a freshman in 2011.
During the 2012 season, as a sophomore, Paul had 61 tackles with 3.5 for loss and he forced a fumble, hurried the opposing Quarterback another play and then broke up two more passes. Paul was third on the team in tackles and was living the dream. But, the good dream was intermittent with a few nightmares which got him suspended a couple of times.
Gionni Paul’ off the field issues caused him to leave Miami, whether it was his idea or the coaching
staff’s is dependent upon who you talk to.
Dennis Erickson had been fired as head coach at Arizona State and was hired as an assistant at Utah. Gionni Paul loved Erickson and decided to follow him to Utah, where he was welcomed with open arms and it was time for a fresh start.
Unless a player has graduated, he still has to sit out a season when he transfers, as most fans know. Gionni Paul had to sit out and that was apparently a really good thing for him as far as growing up.
In 2014, Gionni Paul was a good defender for the Utes, but he struggled with injury and missed several games at the beginning and at the end of the season.
The injury to Paul’s foot forced him to go through 5 surgeries and he struggle through the rehab involved with serious injuries.
So far this season, Gionni Paul has been a very fun player to watch bringing much aggression and speed to the Utes defense.
The Utah Utes are off to a 2-0 start and part of that has been on Gionni Paul. So far, he leads the team in tackles over fellow Linebacker Jared Norris.
It’s a long season and a lot can happen, but right now Gionni Paul of Utah is a must watch for hardcore football fans.