Over the past 10 years, one of the most consistent position groups for the Utes has been that of the safeties. There have been numerous Freshmen All-Americans, 3 and 4 year starters, and even some NCAA All-Americans. Utah hasn't really had to worry about the safety position too much in the past, but that unfortunately is no longer the case. In 2014 Utah will likely have two new starters at both safety positions. One is a familiar face who didn't play a snap during the 2013 season, while the other is a face that many have placed high expectations on yet have seen very little of. Add in some talented, young freshmen and there will be plenty of competition at the safety spot this fall.
Pre-Fall Camp Depth Chart
Eric Rowe: A three year starter at free safety, Rowe would be a lock to start at the position for a fourth consecutive year if it weren't for the fact that he'll likely be a cornerback this season. Rowe played both free safety and cornerback during spring ball but saw most of his practice reps at corner. He's penciled in as the starter at free safety for now but smart money has Rowe playing corner within a few short weeks or even days from the start of fall camp.
Tevin Carter: The much-heralded JUCO prospect is finally with the Utes. After failing to qualify academically for the 2013 season Carter cleared his hurdles early this spring and immediately became the expected starter at free safety. With the speed of a cornerback and the size of a linebacker, Carter is arguably the most physically-impressive athlete on the roster. At 6'1" 215 lbs he will be asked to be the ball-hawk of the secondary, something Utah has certainly lacked over the past few seasons. There are some question marks regarding the overall health and shape he is in, especially after failing to participate in spring ball due to surgery, but he should be near full health when fall camp opens.
Brian Blechen: The career of Brian Blechen has been like a roller-coaster ride as he has experienced many highs and equally as many lows. After a Freshman All-America debut in 2010 expectations were sky-high for Blechen, who then spent the next two seasons going back and forth between linebacker and safety. Even though the coaching staff saw him as a more natural linebacker, injury and depth needs forced him to play as an overweight strong safety where despite his natural talent, speed proved to be too big a liability for real success. A nagging knee injury forced him to redshirt last season, yet in his final season on the hill Blechen looks poised to breakout yet again. With his knees healthy and his weight where it needs to be look for Blechen to take a strong leadership role and return to the playmaking days of his freshman campaign.
Charles Henderson: The converted safety is in his second year at the position and is slotted in a backup role similar to last season. Henderson has good speed and is very physical for his size, but can also be a liability in coverage due to said size. Henderson split kick return duties last season with multiple players and will fight for that spot yet again in 2014.
Brian Allen: Another wide receiver converted to safety, Allen asked the coaching staff to be moved to safety after struggling to crack the WR depth chart this spring. Allen played safety in high school, has good speed, and has desirable safety size at 6'3" 200 lbs, but there will be an adjustment period for him which will likely delay any impact he may have. Look for him to contribute most on special teams in 2014.
Andre Godfrey: Godfrey was arguably the crown jewel of the 2014 recruiting class. The much-hyped Miramar, Florida safety is one of the most likely newcomers to see playing time in 2014. Godfrey isn't overly big or incredibly fast, but what he lacks in those areas he more than makes up for in instincts and understanding of the game. Godfrey is physical and fundamental, a prototypical strong safety who is fantastic in run support. Since arriving at Utah he has received great reviews and will likely earn playing time in a backup role this fall.
Monte Seabrook: Seabrook may be one of the most athletic players taken in the 2014 class. He has a great blend of size and speed and is a prolific dunker on the basketball court. Seabrook played in one of Florida's lower divisions of high school football where he dominated his competition due to his superior athletic ability. He is still fairly raw when it comes to his overall football talent but has a ceiling as high as any player currently on the roster. The tools are there, but a redshirt year spent playing on the scout team and learning from veteran players is the most-likely scenario for him.
Marcus Williams: Williams is another big time leaper. The Roosevelt, California standout's best ability is to out jump receivers and high-point the football for interceptions. Williams displayed a good knack for playing "center field" as a safety in high school which is one thing this Utah roster needs more of. He still needs to add some weight to his frame and will likely need a redshirt year in order to fully max out his potential.
Projected Post-Fall Camp Depth Chart
Charles Henderson or Eric Rowe
Charles Henderson or Andre Godfrey
Fall Camp Preview: Safety
Ute Zone Top Stories
Position Grades: Utah vs. USCSteve Bartle grades each position group following Utah's big 31-27 win over USC.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 1:09 AM
Video Recap: Utah vs. USCUteZone's Michelle Bodkin recaps Utah's thrilling win over USC Friday night.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 12:39 AM
Game Matchups: Utah Defense vs. USC OffenseUteZone breaks down the position matchups between the USC offense and the Utah defense in tonight's Pac-12 opener for the Utes.
Ute ZoneFriday at 9:43 AM
Dimick embodies 'Hometown Hero'Senior defensive end Hunter Dimick has truly been a "Hometown Hero" for the Utes. And his journey has been well worth the effort.
Ute ZoneThursday at 6:22 PM