Former Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei asked not to participate at combine with heart condition

Published: Sunday, Feb. 24 2013 9:35 p.m. MST

Utah Utes defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (92) gets a tackle and celebrates during Pac-12 football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former University of Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, who has been projected to go as high as No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, was asked not to participate in the league's scouting combine drills this week in Indianapolis after a heart condition was detected.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that an echocardiogram determined that Lotulelei has an abnormally low Ejection Fraction. His left ventricle is pumping at 44 percent efficiency, below the normal range of 55-70 percent.

Bruce Tollner, who is Lotulelei's agent, told ESPN's Joe Schad that Lotulelei will visit a specialist in Salt Lake City. Tollner said that NFL officials asked Lotulelei not to participate in combine workouts until doing so.

Lotulelei will remain in Indianapolis, however, to interview with NFL teams. He also plans to fully participate inUtah's "Pro Day" on March 20.

The 6-foot-2, 311-pound Lotulelei never missed a game in three seasons at Utah. The former Bingham High star tallied 107 tackles (22.5 for a loss) with seven sacks, five fumble recoveries, five pass deflections and four forced fumbles over 38 games with the Utes. He started the final 28 games of his collegiate career.

Lotulelei, who was a first-team All-American in 2012, is a two-time Pac-12 all-conference honoree. He won the Morris Trophy in 2011 as the league's top defensive lineman.

Although he could have pursued an NFL career after his junior season, Lotulelei opted to come back to complete his degree and refine his skills.

Despite Utah's disappointing 5-7 record in 2012, Lotulelei didn't second-guess his decision.

"It was great playing for these coaches again, being a part of this team, being with all my teammates," Lotulelei said. "There's highs and lows, but definitely no regrets."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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