Paul Kruger #99 OLB
Height: 6-4 Weight: 270 Age: 29
Born: 2/15/1986 Rexburg , ID
Experience: 7th season
High School: Timpanogos HS [Orem, UT]
Selected By: Baltimore Ravens
Pick (Overall): 25 (57)
To call Kruger a battler might be an understatement.
As a child, he lost a kidney as a result of an automobile accident, but that did not prevent him from pursuing football. He later served on a two-year LDS Church mission after joining the Utah University football team as a quarterback in 2004.
When he returned, he quickly established himself as a standout defensive lineman. After the 2008 season, Kruger was stabbed during a fight outside a party. Kruger survived, but was stabbed twice in the area of his ribs and abdomen and the wound was perilously close to a lung. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's office said deputies were called to the party because of noise and learned of the stabbing after they arrived. The victims had already left the party and investigators are still trying to figure out who had stabbed them.
Held out of 2008 spring drills as he recovered from his injuries, Kruger was back on the field by fall camp, producing a banner season that saw the Utes compile a 13-0 record that included a Sugar Bowl victory over Southeastern Conference powerhouse, Alabama. After two seasons of college football, the right defensive end decided to forgo his eligibility and has primed himself for his next big battle -- playing in the NFL.
Sports are commonplace in the Kruger household. In addition to Paul competing for Utah the past two seasons, he was joined on their defensive line by his younger brother, Dave. Both have solid bloodlines, as their father, Paul, played football at Oregon State. Their father married his college sweetheart, Jennifer, who was a member of Oregon State's women track and field team.
Kruger served as team captain during his senior year at Timpanogos High School, where he lettered four times on the gridiron. The All-American and All-Conference selection was rated as one of the nation's top thirty quarterbacks by Student Sports magazine. He was also a member of the school's Honor Roll.
Kruger enrolled at Utah in 2004, performing on the scout team as the varsity went undefeated. After returning from a two-year church mission, he was shifted to defensive end, earning a starting job at right defensive end. The Freshman All-American recorded 63 tackles (24 solo) with three sacks and ranked fourth on the squad with 7.5 stops for loss. He also broke up five passes and intercepted another.
In 2008, Kruger earned All-American honorable mention and first-team All-Mountain West Conference accolades. He started all year at right defensive end, posting 61 tackles (31 solo), as he led the team with 7.5 sacks and 16.5 stops for losses. He also caused two fumbles and had the second interception of his career.
After that campaign, Kruger decided it was time to leave school and entered the 2009 NFL Draft.