Three days before the Utah football team opens fall camp, the program has made a significant addition with a troubled past.
On Tuesday, former University of Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington II pledged to join the Utes as a graduate transfer, 11 days after being dismissed by new Ducks coach Willie Taggart.
Carrington’s father, Darren Carrington, confirmed to The Tribune via email that his son will join the Utah program.
“The circumstances are definitely not what we planned,” Carrington wrote. “However we are so thankful to Coach [Kyle] Whittingham, Dr. Chris Hill-AD and the U of Utah, for providing darren with an opportunity to not only finish his college football career but also for him to be known not just for 2 bad decisions, but as a man of God.
“One who made some mistakes have learned from them and is now better as a result. Special shout out to OC [Troy] Taylor for being the catalyst.”
Carrington signed off the email referencing the distance between Eugene and Salt Lake City: “780 miles later Darren is a Ute!”
The former second-team All-Pac-12 player from 2015 was booted from the Ducks program on the heels of his arrest on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants on July 1.
Earlier this week, The Oregonian reported that Carrington II pleaded not guilty to the charge of DUII. His family later released a statement to the Oregonian stating that the former Oregon receiver was disappointed to be dismissed from the program but has “taken full responsibility for his actions.”
Carrington II, who had 1,919 receiving yards and 112 catches as a Duck, already has earned his degree and is eligible to play at Utah immediately. The 2017 season will be his final season of eligibility.
A University of Utah spokeswoman on Tuesday would not comment on Carrington’s potential addition.
The dynamic wideout joins a Utah wide receiving corps thin on returning big-play producers. In 2016, Carrington II led the Ducks in receiving yards (606) and was tied for the team lead in touchdowns with five.
In an email to The Tribune on July 23, Carrington’s father confirmed that his son visited Utah’s campus. He added a decision on his son’s future would be made “very soon,” which plays into the timeline of Carrington’s reported decision to join the Utes.
Carrington II arrives with a history plagued with trouble. He missed the 2015 CFP championship game against Ohio State after receiving a suspension for reportedly failing an NCAA drug test. Later that year, Carrington was cited for an open container violation.
And last fall, a few weeks before Carrington hauled in a game-winning touchdown at Rice-Eccles Stadium that left Utah stunned in a 30-28 loss, he was accused of shoving a man down and breaking his arm. The wide receiver, however, was never charged.
The 2017 fall camp begins Friday evening on University of Utah campus.