Let the games begin!!!!!
For the first time in what seems like an eternity, Utah has options at quarterback. We're not just talking guys to throw out there, but legitimate options that will win them games. If Utah can't find a serviceable quarterback this fall, then they'll be in big trouble. Fortunately, multiple players look like they're Pac-12 level signal callers.
Pre-Fall Camp Depth Chart
Travis Wilson (Jr)
Kendal Thompson (R-Jr)
Conner Manning (R-Fr) or
Adam Schulz (R-Jr)
Brandon Cox (R-Fr)
Donovan Isom (Fr)
Travis Wilson is your starter heading into fall camp, and he should be. Now that the junior is fully-cleared and healthy, he's the guy with the most experience, talent, and upside. We saw glimpses of what Wilson can be in the first half of the season last year, culminating with big-time performances against Oregon State, BYU, and Stanford. The problem is that there were also disasters against UCLA, USC, Arizona, and Arizona State (all of which he was either ill or injured in some way). If Travis Wilson is healthy, there's no reason he can't slot in right behind the Pac-12's 'Big 4' in Mariota, Mannion, Hundley, and Kelly in the conference's quarterback pecking order. Wilson has transformed his body and is looking lighter on his feet with more muscle in his upper body. The increased mobility, combined with his upside as a passer, makes him the odds on favorite and logical choice to nab the starting job by the time Idaho State rolls around.
Kendall Thompson. Anybody know what Utah is going to be getting out of the Oklahoma transfer? Thompson can run, and run, and run. That's pretty clear. But can he throw? That's still very much an unknown as the 6-1, 199 pounder has attempted only 13 passes in his career with only 4 completions. The early feedback has him struggling to throw the ball with accuracy, which will hurt his chances at overtaking Wilson and winning the starting job. What Thompson does have going for him is that Dave Christensen wanted him....and got him. Thompson didn't come here to be a back-up and he fits well with what Christensen wants out of quarterback, in theory. If you're struggling to complete balls though, success as a quarterback in the Pac-12 will be hard to come by. Still, Thompson's legs add a threat that is hard to pass up, and that's why he'll get a very long look as the possible starter.
Adam Schulz has done more at Utah than anyone ever expected, and that should be commended. Coming to the Utes as a little-known walk-on, he ascended the depth chart, landed a scholarship, and was the starter to close out the 2013 season. Schulz has his limitations, and probably isn't a Pac-12 starting quarterback, but considering where he came from to what he's given Utah football so far,
it's been mostly gravy. He'll compete for a backup spot and be someone the Utes can use in a pinch if needed as he's a smart kid that will understand the offense. The days of seeing Adam Schulz taking meaningful snaps at Utah are probably over though.
Is Conner Manning stuck? The redshirt freshman is arguably the best throwing quarterback on the roster, making quick decisions and throwing with accuracy. The arm-strength is average, but his biggest deterent in this offense is lack of mobility, and it's appaernt that Utah wants someone that can run. Conner Manning can't run at a Pac-12 level and in this offense, you have to wonder if that's a death sentence for a QB in Salt Lake City. Still, he's still a redshirt freshman with plenty of time to grow as a player.
Brandon Cox enters fall camp off of the depth-chart with four guys ahead of him at this time and an incoming freshman lurking. Cox hasn't taken more than a few meaningful snap in almost 3 years as his senior season in high school was cut short due to injury after only two games. Cox has as much athleticism as any quarterback on the roster, and is able to keep plays alive with his feet as we saw in the spring. The passing game is still developing though and is nowhere near a Pac-12 level yet. Cox will get late reps in fall and another year on the bench developing is likely.
Donovan Isom comes to Utah from Louisiana as a man. A tremendous build at about 6-4, 230 pounds, the dual-threat QB is going to be a factor in the quarterback race at Utah down the line. With the depth in front of him, that won't happen in 2014, but he'll get his chance to show what he can do on the scout team. The future is bright for Isom at Utah, but fans will need to be patient.
Projected Post Fall Camp Depth Chart
Fall Camp Preview: Quarterback
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