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Ute football: Star Lotulelei declines invitation to attend NFL draft

Published: Wednesday, April 10 2013 8:05 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (92) as the Univeristy of Utah loses to Arizona State University 37-7 as they play PAC 12 football Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Tempe, Arizona.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has declined an invitation to attend the National Football League draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 25.

Lotulelei, who is projected to go early in the first round, explained the decision not to go in a statement released through his agent Bruce Tollner.

“I want to thank the NFL for inviting me to New York City for the draft. Being invited is a tremendous honor and I am very grateful for the consideration,” Lotulelei said. “After discussing it with my family, I have decided to stay in Utah for the draft so I can share this moment with all of the people that have supported me my entire life. I expect over 50 family and friends at our home for this wonderful occasion and look forward to a special day."

Although Lotulelei declined to attend the draft, 23 others accepted invitations. The NFL announced that the attendees will include BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah, West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper, Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker, Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckel, Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson, Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan, Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel, Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, Louisiana State defensive end Barkevious Mingo, Tennessee wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Louisiana State safety Eric Reid, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, Alabama guard Chance Warmack, Florida State tackle Menelik Watson and Florida State defensive end Bjoern Werner.

The first round of the NFL draft is April 25. The next two rounds are set for April 26, while the final four are scheduled for April 27.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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