HOLLYWOOD, Cal. - Utah defensive tackle Filipo Mokofisi has a message for new Utes' wide receiver Darren Carrington Jr.:
The whole thing about him catching that 17-yard, game-winning touchdown pass with two seconds remaining during Oregon's 30-28 upset win last season at Rice Eccles-Stadium - don't go there.
"I'm excited to get him," Mokofisi said Thursday during Pac-12 Media Days. Then, with a smile, he added: "Obviously that (touchdown play) hurt. And he can't talk about it. At all. I haven't met him yet, but Darren, if you're watching, you can't talk about it at all."
Carrington could make up for that play by making similar plays for the Utes this season. He is reportedly in the process of transferring to Utah after Oregon coach Willie Taggart dismissed him from the Ducks following a DUII arrest on July 1.
Losing Carrington, who caught 112 career passes for 1,919 yards and 15 touchdowns during his career at Oregon and would have been the Ducks' No. 1 receiver this season, will hurt the Ducks' receiver depth.
Utah is willing to take the chance that Carrington can put his checkered past behind him for four months, motivated by the fact that his NFL Draft stock has been sinking like a rock since he tested positive for marijuana prior to the 2015 national championship game, leading to a six-game suspension.
A strong season for Carrington could help him recoup some of the future NFL money he has undoubtedly squandered with his antics. Such a performance could also help Utah, which will play at Oregon on Oct. 28.
"We're all about second chances," Mokofisi. "We've had a lot of players in the past that have that. So, I feel like we'll be fine."
"I think we will do a great job embracing him as a player and as a person," Utah offensive tackle Salesi Uhatafe added.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said accepting Carrington onto his team wasn't an easy decision.
"It's always a tough decision when you're talking about a player that you're going to add to your program that potentially has a checkered past," he said. "You have to make a decision based on all the information you can gather. Based on the athlete's attitude. You know, is he remorseful? Does he understand that he's done some stupid things and ready to put it behind him and move on? There is so much that goes into it. It's a judgment call. You're not always right. But I feel in this case it was the right thing to do to give Darren another opportunity."
According to Whittingham, Carrington is on campus but not yet cleared to practice as he goes through the transfer process. Once completed, Whittingham said Carrington would be on a "short leash."
"He's a terrific talent on the field," Whittingham said. "One of the common denominators that came back from all the people I talked to about Darren was his fierce, competitive drive on the field, on the practice field. He's just a guy that is the ultimate competitor. Brings a toughness to that receiver position that will help us out."
Whittingham said he spent a lot of time talking to Carrington and his parents about what he must do to succeed at Utah.
"You know, it was very apparent that he'll be the first to admit that he's done some dumb things, made some bad decisions," Whittingham said. "But he's got the right attitude right now. He's bound and determined to put this behind him, move forward. Try to have a successful senior year, and then hopefully have a chance to move on to the next level."