Monday afternoon, CSU football coach Jim McElwain addressed an assault that took place Friday night that reportedly involved three members of his team.
McElwain suspended the three players that were allegedly involved on Saturday after he found out about the incident in which four freshmen were taken to the hospital after a fight outside of a house party.
Junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo and junior defensive end Colton Paulhaus have been suspended indefinitely as the police investigation continues.
â€œThese players that are here, I know we didnâ€™t recruit them, and yet at the same time, understand this: Iâ€™m responsible,â€ McElwain said. â€œIâ€™m here to lead them in the direction we need to go.â€
As McElwain waits for the investigation to conclude, the team is moving on as they adapt to a new coaching staff trying to improve off of three straight 3-9 seasons.
If the three players are not able to return to the team, a possibility depending on what happens with the investigation, the Rams would lose a lot of on-field production.
Capi emerged as one of the top defensive ends in the nation last year, bursting onto the scene in the season opener against New Mexico. Capi registered 3.5 sacks and four forced fumbles to clinch the season-opening win.
He finished the year with 10 sacks and seven forced fumbles, earning a spot on the all-Mountain West first team and was named honorable mention All-American by Sports Illustrated.
Orakpo emerged as a team leader when Myke Sisson went down with an ankle injury. Orakpo, who has started all 24 games in his career, was third on the team in tackles last season.
The suspensions come after CSUâ€™s first scrimmage of spring practice. In Fridayâ€™s scrimmage Capi and Orakpo were particularly dominant, recording a combined 13 tackles and six sacks.
Paulhaus played mostly on special teams in 2011, recording seven tackles on the season.
Even while these are serious issues still to be dealt with, the team still has to go through its normal work.
â€œPart of what we learn being in this arena is, youâ€™ve got to focus through controversy, youâ€™ve got to step forward, youâ€™ve got to bring leadership, do whatâ€™s right â€” and the cream will rise to the top,â€ McElwain said.
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.