One of the biggest areas of emphasis for the Utes' 2015 recruiting class are wide receivers that can come in and compete for a starting job from day one. Utah has already added JUCO WR's Brandon Snell and Kyle Fulks, but they added a third JUCO WR on Saturday, as Deniko Carter pulled the trigger and committed to play for Coach Whittingham and the Utes, over an offer from Toledo and heavy interest from Kansas State.
The first thing you notice with Carter is his size and length. At 6'4 - 180lbs, Carter has very long arms and legs, and uses that to his advantage to out jump defenders. Carter also uses those long legs to outrun defenders as he has extremely long strides, but he certainly won't be burning by defensive backs regularly. One of the bigger strengths for Carter though is his ability after he catches the ball. You don't usually see 6'4 wide receivers taking short passes to the house or returning kick offs for touchdown, but Carter's film is full of those type of impact plays. Lastly, Carter also has soft hands and does a good job of catching the ball away from his body. A lot of times players from junior colleges can learn bad habits, and wide receivers specifically tend to rely on catch passes with their pads and close to their body. Carter utilizes his big hands to catch away from his body and then secure the ball before going to work after the catch.
The biggest area that Carter needs to work on between now and the start of the 2015 season is strength and weight. Carter is think and lanky at 180lbs right now, and will need to pack on 15-20 pounds over his college career, in order to play to his fullest potential. Carter does a pretty good job of getting off the ball in junior college, but that's mostly because he's faster than most corners. That won't be the case in the PAC 12, and with the popularity of big, tall cornerbacks rising, Carter will need to get stronger in order to adequately beat man, press coverage. One more area of improvement for Carter, and I'm nitpicking at this point, is that he needs to do a better job securing the ball while running. Too many times on his film can you spot him running with the ball loosely in his arm and down low. He's got to learn to hold that ball high and tight, otherwise he may not see much time at Utah, who has been known to restrict playing time to those that turnn the ball over.
I think Carter has the potential to become a starter for the Utes in 2015. It's rare to find a 6'4 wide receiver that's as good after the catch as he is. Carter still needs to shore up his academics, and will need to workout tirelessly between now and the start of the season, but I think he may have the highest ceiling of any wide receiver on Utah's roster. Whether or not he reaches that potential is something we'll just have to wait and see on.
Commitment Analysis: WR Deniko Carter
Ute Zone Top Stories
Know your foe: WashingtonUteZone caught up with Washington insider Chris Fetters to get his take on Saturday's big game.
Ute ZoneYesterday at 9:09 AM
Santiago embraces life as a UteWalk-on receiver Andrew Santiago has reveled in his experience as a Ute
Ute ZoneWednesday at 8:28 PM
Carlson discusses Utah commitmentUtah commit Branden Carlson talks about the circumstances around his decision
Ute ZoneMonday at 10:29 PM
Film Room: UCLAUteZone breaks down the biggest impact plays from Utah's win over UCLA
Ute ZoneMonday at 8:41 PM