Utah came into spring ball looking to replace all four starters in the secondary as Brian Blechen moved up to linebacker and Brandon Burton left early for the NFL. With a ton of players on the roster to plug in, trying to find the best foursome, the Utes figured to reload, but that didn't happen.
Early in the spring it was clear that Ryan Lacy and Conroy Black were going to be the premier corners. Both were very good, with Black appearing at times like he could be an All Conference candidate. Both look to be shut-down corners who will excel in the pass happy Pac 12.
Behind them though, the Utes might have problems. There was a rotating group of players that just couldn't seem to develop any consistencies as cornerback coach Jay Hill's hair seemed to go from light brown to grey over the six weeks of camp.
Reggie Topps got his looks and was decent at times, but had issues with deep balls at time with losing his man. Topps will be the first corner off of the bench and the nickel corner, but he didn't show enough in the spring to give the coaches much confidence in his play at this time.
Wykie Freeman is a player that the coaches love, and can't help but hate. Wykie was the poster child for the secondary in the spring with one great play followed by a 'What the hell?' play immediately after. He's still slight, but has good height and ability and will eventually be a starter down the road, but saying he was inconsistent is an understatement.
Lucky Radley started the spring at corner, but struggled mightily and moved back to running back. I know he's short, but I'll say it again, Radley best fit is at safety. If the coaches don't find a consistent spot for Radley soon, I'd be worried that this waste his talents.
Mike Honeycutt had his looks as well, but has physical limitations that kept him from being a real player.
At safety, it turned into a revolving door of mediocrity.
Terrell Reese was up and down, but seemed to have the light come on towards the end up camp, yet isn't in the two deep. He's got all the tools you'd look for in a safety and was better in my mind than the coaches' apparently,
Quade Chappuis was very impressive in my eyes and plays hard. He was consistent in camp and does well in run support. He's not the most athletic player, but had a very strong camp in my eyes.
By the end of camp Martavious Lee had moved over to safety and looks like he might be a player. Lee has the instincts and fire to be a big hitter at safety if he can get the position down.
Greg Bird missed spring ball and will return in the fall and I expect him to retake the starting safety spot. Michael Walker is a fine player, but Bird needs to be the starter. Then again, I said the same thing about Chaz Walker last season as I'm saying about Michael Walker now, and we saw how that turned out. Chris Washington missed the spring and has as much natural ability as any safety, but needs the light to come on first.
Incoming recruits Keith McGill and Eric Rowe both figure to compete for a spot in the two deep once they arrive on campus.
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