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Paul Soliai makes donation to Utah football program

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Miami Dolphins Pro Bowl defensive tackle Paul Soliai donated a quarter million dollars to the University of Utah’s football program yesterday. Soliai spent 2004-2006 with the Utes before being drafted by Miami.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Paul Soliai said thank you to his alma mater in a big way this week. The Miami Dolphins defensive tackle donated $250,000 to the University of Utah football program as they build a new football center.

"I'm thankful I can donate and help out the University of Utah football team and give back to the school. They gave me the opportunity to play, and as a kid from Samoa, it's something I'm thankful for every day," Soliai said.

The donation will be used for the Paul and LeTasha Soliai Player Lounge.

Soliai played with the Utes from 2004 through 2006, after spending two years at Coffeyville Community College. After redshirting his first year at Utah, he appeared in 24 games as a redshirt junior and a sophomore before being a fourth round pick of the Dolphins in 2007. During his career with Miami, he has recorded 3.5 sacks, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and 126 tackles over 84 games (48 starts). He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2011 season.

"We are extremely grateful to Paul and LeTasha for their generous gift to our new football facility," Utah head football coach Kyle Whittingham said following the donation. "Paul was a great player for us and his loyalty to our program and its continued success demonstrates the kind of person he is. We are proud to have his name in our new facility."

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