February 27, 2013
In his three seasons at Utah, Star Lotulelei never once missed a game due to either injury or some type of health issue. Following a season in which he was a consensus first-team All-American, the defensive tackle was viewed by many as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming April draft.
A health scare, however, leaves the lineman facing an uncertain future.
As noted in the one-liners below, Lotulelei will not be permitted to work out at the NFL combine Monday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported, "after an echocardiogram revealed that the former Utah defensive tackle has a heart condition that requires more testing." Specifically, it was detected that the left ventricle of his heart was pumping at only 44 percent efficiency, with the normal range being between 55-70 percent efficiency.
Lotulelei is expected to visit a specialist this week, although he still plans on participating in Utah's Pro Day next month.
For the school's part, a spokesperson told the Salt Lake Tribune that she is unaware of what type of heart tests were involved in physicals taken by Ute student-athletes in general and football players specifically. While head coach Kyle Whittingham was unavailable for comment, Utah athletic director Chris Hill expressed sympathy for the standout player.
"He's such a great guy that hearing something like this just breaks your heart," he said. "We all wish him well and hope that whatever the issue is gets worked out.