The end of Spring Camp has unfortunately come, and with a little under 3 1/2 months until the start of Fall Camp, there's a lot of time for players to do individual workouts to try and better themselves before the start of Fall Camp. There is also going to be a large group of newcomers joining the team in the summer, and we expect a couple them to make an immediate impact on the depth chart. Let's take a look at what UteSportsReport.com believes the depth chart will look like heading in to Fall Camp.
Travis Wilson or
Travis Wilson is the incumbent starter, and no other QB did enough in spring to really come close to passing him on the depth chart. Enter Kendal Thompson. Coach Whittingham has repeatedly said that they will need to see what Kendal can do as quickly as possible, and therefore will split 1st team reps with Wilson during the beginning of Fall Camp. The coaching staff believes that Thompson has the ability to be the starter, otherwise they wouldn't have brought him in. It should be fun to watch the battle between Wilson and Thompson for the top spot. Whoever doesn't win the job will be 2nd string, followed by Conner Manning at 3rd string, who passed Adam Schulz in the Spring.
Bubba Poole or
Troy McCormick or
The highlight of the spring was undoubtedly the three headed monster that appeared in Bubba Poole, Devontae Booker and Troy McCormick. All three of them had fantastic Spring Camps, and all of them showed that they deserve playing time this fall. Poole and Booker will likely receive 80-90% of the carries this fall, but McCormick will be a nice change of pace back, especially receiving the ball out of the backfield. Of the newcomers, expect only DJ Law to make a push for playing time, as he may have the most talent of any of the RB's on the team. There's still a chance though that he could end up on defense.
Dominique Hatfield or
There's a clear top two at WR in Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott. Dres is the big play WR, while Scott will be the go to possession receiver. After those two there will be some competition. Dominique Hatfield had a fantastic spring and really asserted himself as the next guy up, but he'll likely have to battle with incoming JUCO WR Kaelin Clay for the starting job. Clay brings elite speed that can help stretch the field, something that Utah desperately needs opposite of Dres Anderson. Delshawn McClellon looked improved this spring as well, and looks ready to contribute to the offense, but it will be in a backup role. Raelon Singleton and Kenric Young join the team in fall as well, but expect both of them to redshirt.
There wasn't much change at the tight end spot in the spring. Tonga remains the top dog, and is a good matchup problem for the Utes in the seam and inside the 20 yard line. Fakailoatonga is the clear #2 as well, and has the potential to be a better tight end than former Ute Jake Murphy, but showed some growing pains towards the end of Spring Camp. He's still young, but he'll see a lot of time this fall as well in a backup role.
Hiva Lutui or
J.J. Dielman or
The biggest storyline coming out of Spring Camp for the offensive line was the move of Jeremiah Poutasi back to left tackle. Poutasi is best suited to play guard, but with him losing 30+ pounds and the sub-par play of Andrew Albers this spring, Poutasi is the best option there. There will be Fall Camp battles for the starting job at left guard and right tackle.
Pita Taumoepenu or
Hunter Dimick or
The storyline for the D Line this spring was who was in the pit. For more than half of camp, there were at least 4 defensive linemen who will see significant playing time this fall, in the pit. Guys like Sese Ianu and Sam Tevi didn't practice at all. However, there were some great things seen from the DL this spring. Pita Taumoepenu and Jason Fanaika really emerged as big time playmakers this spring, and returning starter Nate Orchard showed to be even more disruptive than last year. The old adage is proving to be true once again, Utah never rebuilds on the D Line, they only reload.
Uaea Masina or
The injuries to Jacoby Hale and Gionni Paul were a big blow to Utah's linebackers, as it made one of Utah's strongest position groups, also one of its thinnest. Now, by most accounts, Gionni Paul should be healthy by the start of Fall Camp, or shortly afterwards. Jason Whittingham will also be healthy for Fall Camp, after not participating at all in the spring. Utah will most likely play a lot of Nickel defense this year, so you may only see two linebackers on the field at the same time, but the three starters in Norris, Paul and Whittingham make up one of the best starting group of linebackers in the entire conference.
Reggie Porter or
Wykie Freeman or
Eric Rowe has made the full transition to corner from safety, and he looked to be the most solid of all the corners this Spring. He occasionally struggled covering the Utes top two receivers (Anderson and Scott), but expect him to improve his technique over the Summer and become Utah's lock down defender. Reggie Porter started camp on fire, as he was routinely singled out as the best defensive back during practices, but like Rowe, he started to struggle covering Utah's best receivers towards the end of camp. Davion Orphey had a pretty quiet camp, but still improved his game a lot from last year. Expect a big time battle between him and Porter for the other starting job. At nickel, Justin Thomas has got that spot locked down, and he's a very good nickel back. Wykie Freeman currently backs him up, but I expect true freshman Travonne Hobbs to push him for that spot. Hobbs is the epitome of a gamer, and has the talent to contribute immediately in a backup role and on special teams.
This is where things get a bit scary for Utah on defense. Projected starter Tevin Carter missed the entire Spring Camp while rehabbing an injury, and he also appears to be overweight and possibly out of shape. With Eric Rowe moving to corner, Utah desperately needs Carter to live up to the hype. If he struggles to get in shape or pick up the defense, Utah's secondary could be in big trouble. Fifth year senior Brian Blechen will be the starter at strong safety, but with Blechen also being able to play linebacker, don't be surprised if Andre Godfrey comes in and either wins the starting job, or contributes significantly from the first day. Godfrey's football IQ is off the charts, and he's been living in Utah's playbook and studying all of Utah's practice film. Utah has had previous true freshmen come in and start at safety, as well as be named Freshman All Americans, and it's very possible that Godfrey is the next in line.
Not much is new on special teams for Utah. Andy Phillips and Tom Hackett had tremendous Springs, and showed that they are two of the best specialists not only in the conference, but the entire country. Chase Dominguez is also the best player no one talks about. His snaps are almost always perfect. There will be a bit of a battle to see who returns kicks in the Fall, but expect incoming WR Kaelin Clay to lock down one of those spots. Troy McCormick should be the other favorite there, as he's extremely dangerous in space. At punt returner, someone will have to come in and prove the can catch the ball more reliably than Geoff Norwood if they want to return punts. Norwood isn't a huge threat to make a big play, but he's proven to be reliable at catching the ball. Look for Kaelin Clay to also make a potential splash here.
Post Spring/Pre Fall Depth Chart
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