Gionni Paul, Wife Living In A House Divided

Aug 27, 2022, 2:27 PM

Linebacker Gionni Paul #13 of the Utah Utes returns an interception against quarterback Jake Browni...

Linebacker Gionni Paul #13 of the Utah Utes returns an interception against quarterback Jake Browning #3 of the Washington Huskies on November 7, 2015 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- We are all used to the Utah versus BYU game drawing some angst in households come football season, but Utah versus Florida? Such is the case for former Utah linebacker Gionni Paul who jokingly tweeted out a week before game day that he and his wife, a Florida graduate, are not speaking.

Utah’s Surprising Connection With Florida

Utah has a lot of surprising connections with the state of Florida that it feels like most on both sides would like to ignore.

Starting strictly with the schools themselves, both Utah and Florida share Urban Meyer, Dan Mullen, Brian Johnson, Jaylon Glover (a recruit the Gators really wanted) and Mohamoud Diabate who transferred from Florida to Utah this season. Making things even more ironic, Urban Meyer won Florida’s last national championship against Oklahoma the same year Kyle Whittingham and the Utes went undefeated for the second time in school history and whooped Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

On the recruiting trail, the Utes have had some continuous luck in the state of Florida. We already talked about Gionni Paul who hails from Winter Haven, Florida. Originally with the Miami Hurricanes, Paul transferred to Utah in 2013 and never looked back, quickly becoming a fan favorite and Ute Legend. Paul really can be pinpointed as the player who opened the door for the Utes in Florida along with College Football Hall of Fame coach Dennis Erickson who led the Hurricanes to two National Championship and helped the Utes navigate the Power Five waters when they first joined the Pac-12. Because of those two, players like Kenric Young, Tyler Huntley, Demari Simpkins, Zack Moss, and now Jaylon Glover and Mohamoud Diabate have been open-minded to coming clear across the country for school and to play football.

Even going back a few decades before to the mid-to-late 1980’s and you can find a Florida-based player on Utah’s roster. Offensive lineman Jeff Parson took a flyer on the Utes from Belle Glade, Florida because he loved (at-the-time) offensive line coach Ron McBride.

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Gionni Paul, Wife Living In A House Divided