Projecting the Newcomers

Projecting roles for all of the incoming freshman and JC players in 2012

Utah's 2012 recruiting class was stellar in more ways than one. They brought in immediate help at positions of need, built depth, and landed long term prospects that are heading out on missions and will come back in two years ready to compete for playing time. All in all, it was a tremendous class. Now, we try to figure out how all of the incoming players will be used for the 2012 season, and which players will be redshirted.

The Players:

WR Bryan Allen
Allen is slotted to play receiver, but could end up on the other side of the ball as well. He's a very good looking athlete who could surprise some people. A redshirt is likely, but making a move on the depth chart wouldn't be a huge surprise.

OL J.J. Dielman
Dielman is a bit undersized at the moment and will need time to add weight. The future center prospect is a couple of years away from contributing.

DL Hunter Dimick
Dimick enrolled early and took part in spring ball, which did him well. The true freshman made his way into the rotation and looked like a future star. He's stuck behind a few more seasoned players, but don't be surprised if he gets part time reps.
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QB Chase Hansen
Unless Hansen made tremendous strides in his passing over the offseason, he won't see much time in a traditional QB role. What he does have going for him is an ability to run the ball effectively, which will likely force the coaches into drawing up a specific package to utilize his skill set and get him on the field.
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LB Reshawn Hooker
Ute fans are excited about Hooker, and they should be. The Stevenson Sylvester clone looks like one of the more ready incoming freshman and would likely compete for a spot in the two deep if the position wasn't currently overloaded with solid players. The best thing for Hooker is to add a bit more weight to his frame and sit out the year, but if needed he could be ready to jump in at a moment's notice.

DL Koliniasi Leota
Leota was an early enrollee, who competed in spring ball, but didn't have the impact many were hoping. He's incredibly strong, but appears to lack some of the instincts necessary to be a starting defensive end. With an entire off-season in the books, and a fall camp to develop, we'll get to see how much he's come along since enrolling in January.
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OT Carlos Lozano
The mammoth JC transfer figures to plug right into the offensive line rotation and compete for a starting spot at tackle. How well he is conditioned and put in work on his body will go a long ways towards determining whether or not Lozano is ready to earn a starting spot. With Pouvave going down, he'll have a much better chance of getting into the starting five, but it's not a sure thing.

OL Hiva Lutui
Lutui is good enough to come in and start right away, but there are a few other options in front of him in Tevita Stevens and Vyncent Jones that aren't bad themselves. Hiva's best chance at getting on the field early is at the guard spot. The Utah coaches will probably want to save him, but he's ready to play now if needed.

CB Alphonso Marsh
Marsh's recent battle with appendicitis has set him back in terms of workouts and he's lost a significant amount of weight. Will need some time to get back to where he was, and a season on the sidelines will help with that.

WR Delshawn McClellon
McClellon has a ton of speed, but the wide receiver depth ahead of him is too vast to make much of a dent in the rotation. His best bet to get on the field early is to return kicks in some capacity, but a year working on his body, while learning the offense is the likely direction.

LB/DE Moana Ofahengaue
Ofahengaue is possibly the most raw player in the 2012 class for Utah and will need a couple of years in the weight room and working on his game before he's ready to contribute.

DL Tenny Palepoi
Palepoi is stuck behind a few players on the depth chart, but will get a chance to show what he can do at both end and tackle.

RB James Poole
Poole came in to replace the departed Harvey Langi and add back end depth. He's a solid player, but coming in right when fall camp starts is going to put him behind just a bit. A redshirt year to learn the offense will do him good.

DB Reginald Porter
Porter could be the biggest unknown in the entire class. He's raw, and hasn't been seen much, but the Utah coaches liked what they saw enough to bring him on board.

OL Jeremiah Poutasi
Poutasi has the build and skill to come in and compete right away, but if he's not going to get significant time, then a redshirt is the likely direction. Utah has some options on the line and enough that they probably won't be forced to use the talented tackle prospect, but he could surprise and jump into the rotation.

OL Marc Pouvave
Pouvave was all set to compete for a starting spot on the offensive line, but an injury will force him to miss the year and redshirt.

DL Junior Salt
Salt is an absolute load of a tackle, and will look very good lined up next to Star Lotulelei. He'll have a battle on his hands to overtake Dave Kruger as a starter, but the size and talent are there to do so.

CB Justin Thomas
Of all of the DBs Utah brought in, Thomas is the most ready to contribute. With two starters and a couple of solid players in front of him, Thomas will have a tough time cracking the rotation, but it isn't out of the question.

QB Travis Wilson
Wilson was great in the spring, and if he stays on track, is poised for a nice fall. He won't supplant Jordan Wynn as the starter, but could be the second best QB right now on the team. Ideally the coaches will be able to redshirt him though, assuming Wynn stays healthy.

RB Kelvin York
York was impressive in the spring when healthy. When he's at 100%, the power back is a great compliment to John White and will get plenty of carries. He just needs to stay injury free.
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DL/FB Moses Foluahola
Foluahola comes in with the ability to play on either side of the ball and it's unknown right now exactly where the coaches have him slotted. With solid depth at all three of his positions (DE, DT, FB), it's hard to imagine he gets on the field this year.

Will all of these be correct? Absolutely not. We never would have guessed that Charles Henderson and Quinton Pedroza would see the field (although Henderson maintained his redshirt due to injury) in 2011. Guys will surprise, some will disappoint, and others will be forced into action out of necessity. At this point, it's just an educated guessing game.

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