Looking Ahead: 2014 Defensive Depth Chart

Looking at the position groups and projecting the depth chart in 2014

Defensive Line
Outside of Nate Orchard, who really didn't do a ton as a sophomore, there aren't any known commodities on the defensive line for 2014. There's a lot of young, raw talent that needs to be refined in 2013 before their ready to contribute, making the Scout team battles this year potentially epic. Jason Whittingham has yet to play defensive end at any point in his college career, but is penciled in as a co-starter this year, meaning he'll likely emerge as a starter in 2014 with the graduation of Trevor Reilly. If Sese Ianu ends up being all he's been heralded as, or Stevie Tu'ikolovatu builds on his impressive spring, things could really be looking up at the defensive tackle spot. Throw in the young guys like Sam Tevi, Myron Aiava, and Gauis Vaenuku (who we project to take a mission after 2013, but could still end up playing) and the depth is there. Overall, the talent exists on the defensive line. It's mostly young, and needs to be coached up to the Pac 12 level, but it's there. Now, is it just me, or does the 2014 roster look like it would fit perfectly in a 3-4 defense, and help hide the deficiencies and lack of depth at defensive end? Maybe turn some of those young, tall freshman into 5 tech defensive ends. Guys like Tevi, Aiava, Vaenuku, and even Hunter Dimick if he can add a bit of weight would fit that role perfectly?

Projected Depth Chart
Nate Orchard (Sr)
Moana Ofahengaue (So or R-Fr)
Filipo Mokofisi (So or R-Fr)

Sese Ianu (Sr)
Stevie Tu'ikolovatu (So)
Daniel Nielson (Jr)

Seni Fauonuku (Jr)
Sam Tevi (So or R-Fr)
Myron Aiava (So or R-Fr)

Jason Whittingham (Jr)
Hunter Dimick (So)
Moses Foluahola (So)

2013 should be better at linebacker. It has to be. If it is and the players make decent strides, 2014 could be special with the glut of talent on the roster right now. They just need more coaching and experience. Reshawn Hooker is an extremely talented player and his body should be ready to be a real force by 2014. VJ Fehoko will be a senior, but will be pushed by arguably the most talented linebacker on the roster in Uaea Masina. Jared Norris and LT Filiaga will only be juniors and should provide plenty of experience and competition at the rover spot. Throw in guys like Jacoby Hale, who could end up as starter this season and you've got a lot of options. Utah won't be hurting at linebacker in 2014. That you can be certain of.

Projected Depth Chart
Stud Linebacker
Reshawn Hooker (So)
Jacoby Hale (Sr)

Middle Linebacker
VJ Fehoko (Sr)
Uaea Masina (So or R-Fr)

Rover Linebacker
Jared Norris (Jr)
LT Filiaga (Jr)
Travis Still (Jr)

The Utes look pretty good at cornerback for 2014, at least at the top. There may be some depth issues that they'll address with the 2014 class, but Justin Thomas should have one spot locked down while Davion Orphey and Reggie Porter battle for the other one. Incoming freshman Hipolito Corporan is very highly thought of by the coaches and could be a guy that, after a year under his belt, is ready to contribute. There's plenty of speed and plenty of size for the corners. All they need is more experience, which they'll get in 2013.

Justin Thomas (So)
Hipolito Corporan (So or R-Fr)

Davion Orphey (Sr)
Reggie Porter (So)

Nickel Back
Joseph Smith (Sr)
Tyler White (Jr)

We'll assume that Eric Rowe doesn't decide to test the waters after 2013 and comes back for his senior year. Doing so will be a big boost to the defense and put Rowe in position to be an all conference safety. With Tevin Rowe, Tyron Morris, and Charles Henderson, the Utes will have a nice selection of players to choose from and line up opposite Rowe. The 2013 season going a long ways to determining who gets that spot. A guy to watch out for is Charles Henderson. He's very skilled, and with his move to safety last season, is still learning the position at the college level. Could be a surprise guy. Utah will also get Austin Lee back off of his mission. There isn't a ton of depth right now, but it will be addressed in the 2014 class with the Utes likely taking two safeties this year.

Projected Depth Chart
Eric Rowe (Sr)
Charles Henderson (Jr)
Austin Lee (Fr)

Tevin Carter (Sr)
Tyron Morris (Sr)
Joseph Bryant (Jr)

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