It's been more than a year since Josh Tupou last suited up for the Colorado football team, but the defensive tackle has been plenty busy during his time away from school and the game.

CU head coach Mike MacIntyre said Tupou, who was suspended from school and the team last June, will return to the classroom for CU's May session, which begins next Monday.

Over the past year, the 6-foot-3, 325-pound senior has played a lot of rugby while also working for his uncle's landscaping company.

"It was positive that he was working landscape for his uncle and working hard at that," MacIntyre said. "I think it was a tough learning experience, but I think it was a very good learning experience for him. Every time I've talked to him, he seems understanding."

MacIntyre said Tupou came back to Boulder in good shape. Playing rugby likely helped that, and MacIntyre joked, "I'd hate to try to tackle him if I was playing rugby. I know that."

"He looks good. He doesn't look like he's bad out of shape, but he'll have May, June and July to really work hard and get in shape here."

Tupou would have been a senior last fall but was allegedly involved in a brawl on University Hill in February 2015 and was arrested the next month. On April 17, 2015, Boulder prosecutors dismissed the case. Nevertheless, the school, and therefore the team, suspended Tupou for a year.

MacIntyre was happy to see Tupou spend the past year doing what he need to get back on track.


"He's a young man that could have gone into the (NFL) supplemental draft," MacIntyre said. "He wants to graduate from college and be one of the first people in his family to ever graduate from college. He wants to set an example for his siblings and other people, and he wants to kind of reshape his name.

"I think that'll be great for him here, that'll be great for his family, and I think it'll also be great for the NFL when they see he decided he wanted to come back and get his degree."

On the field, Tupou's addition could be huge for the Buffs.

Tupou has made 31 career starts, including all 24 games from 2013-14. He earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2014 after registering 42 tackles and three sacks.

As long as he's healthy and picks up where he left off, Tupou would likely move into a starting role right away at nose tackle and become the anchor of a talented defensive line.

"I think he's a high (NFL) draft choice as a 3-4 nose tackle," MacIntyre said. "With a high draft choice in there at nose tackle, I think it helps you a lot. I think he'll be even more hungry than he would have been last year, so I'm excited about getting him out there."


Kolter Smith, an offensive lineman from Deer Creek High School in Edmond, Okla., announced on Twitter on Sunday that he will join CU in the fall. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder played guard and will be a preferred walk-on.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or