Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre confirmed Tuesday that linebacker Nu’umoto Falo, who was dismissed from the team last summer, has been reinstated to the team and has re-enrolled in school.
Falo posted on Instagram in early December that he was coming back, but CU would not confirm that until now.
Part of CU’s 2015 recruiting class, Falo, from Inderkum High School in Sacramento, played in eight games as a true freshman in 2015 and in 11 games in 2016, all as a backup. He played both inside and outside linebacker, recording 29 tackles.
Falo was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season after he and running back Donald “Dino” Gordon were both arrested and accused of stealing items from a dorm room in April of 2016. Both players took plea deals.
Falo was expected to compete for a starting role at outside linebacker last season, but over the summer, he was dismissed after a positive drug test.
In an interview with BuffZone.com last month, Falo said, “I realized my first (two) years at Colorado, I pretty much didn’t take full advantage of my opportunity here, and I saw where I was having too much fun. I was young and my mindset wasn’t where it needed to be.”
Falo, who could be a major contributor to the defense this year as a junior, viewed his dismissal from the team as a wake-up call and said he is now more focused and mature than he was before.
“I was given pretty much two second chances (at CU),” he said. “That’s how blessed I am with what coach Mac sees in me. I’m for sure not going to let him down. I gave him my word that when I come back, I’ll do everything I can to bring this team back.
“I have two more years left. I’m ready to come back and do what I need to do. I want to lead the Pac-12 in sacks. That’s my main goal. I know I have it in me. I know it’s a big goal for me and it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but I’ve been doing it since I came back. I’m really excited.”
Falo, known as “NJ” during his first two years at CU, is now going by his full first name in honor of his deceased father, who shared the same name.