Watch Utah surprise walk-on lineman Paul Toala with a scholarship

Dr. Saturday
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

There are a lot of rosters in flux this time of the year with players coming and going. Often, that means a scholarship can open up for a walk-on or two, creating some of our favorite moments.

Over the weekend, one of those moments happened for Utah offensive lineman Paul Toala when he was put on scholarship by Utes coach Kyle Whittingham. Things got emotional, too:

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“The best part of my job, the thing I enjoy the very most, is when we get a chance as a coaching staff to reward a guy who’s paying his own way, a walk-on who’s here for the love of the game. They don’t get scholarship checks. They pay their own tuition. They pay their own housing. They pay their own meals,” Whittingham said before calling out Toala’s name.

The rest of the team exploded. Toala then addressed the room and dedicated the scholarship to his late mother. How cool is that?

Toala could figure heavily into the Utes’ plans in 2017, too. Last week, starting center Lo Falemaka went down with what appears to be a pretty significant leg injury. Utah hasn’t revealed the nature of Falemaka’s ailment (Whittingham usually doesn’t address any injuries unless they are season-ending), but it could open up a starting role for Toala.

Per the Salt Lake Tribune, the 6-foot-4, 317-pound Toala was working with fellow sophomore Johnny Capra at center over the weekend.

Utah opens the 2017 season at home against North Dakota on Aug. 31.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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