Utah Utes football: Miami transfer Gionni Paul is relishing opportunity with Utes
“He brings a lot of juice,” Orchard said. “It’s just an honor and a privilege to have him as part of our defense. Whether we’re in the locker room, weight room, on the field, he’s getting guys fired up. He’s a guy who loves being here, at 6:30 in the morning, he’s a high-energy guy. He just loves it, and that’s very rare. It’s hard to find that in guys.”
Additionally, Orchard said he sees what a hard-working, responsible man Paul has become.
“He’s a great guy off the field,” he said. “He’s a dad to a little girl, and I see that soft side of him.”
Linebacker and safety Brian Blechen agreed that Paul’s energy will help the Utah defense this season.
“He’s a real smart football player,” he said. “The one thing he brought, whether he was on scout team or whatever, was energy.”
Paul said his year on the sideline was a blessing. He focused on school, even as he learned to appreciate football more.
“I grew up a lot,” he said. “I had a lot of growing up to do. But I’m a father of a beautiful daughter, and I love football. I hope I can take it to the next level.”
He said he wants to be for the Utah football program the kind of leader he wished he’d had at Miami.
“When I came out, I needed a friend,” he said. “I needed leadership. I needed guidance. So I try to bring that to these guys.”
And what advice would he give to his teenage self if he had it to do over again?
“Don’t go for the big name, the glamorous,” he said. “Just listen. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more before you talk. And work hard, never give up.”
He said the future has never been brighter for the Utes.
“I know we had a couple of 5-7 seasons, but I believe everybody rises from their downfall — just like I did at Miami.”
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