UteSportsReport.com's Top 50 for '15: #30-#21

Who are the top 50 players returning for the Utes' 2015 season? We take a look at #30 - #21

We are in to the single digits. Just 8 more days till Utah Football is back in action. It may feel like a century, but it's only 8 short days away. Let us help you pass the time by revealing the players ranked #30 - #21 in the UteSportsReport.com Top 50 for '15. As a reminder, all players on this list have participated in at least one spring camp session during their Ute career, so no newcomers will be on this list.

#30: Defensive End - Kylie Fitts




A transfer from UCLA, Fitts spent 2014 on the scout team while using a mandatory redshirt year and was a standout all season while helping the offense prepare for PAC 12 defenses. Fitts has a good first step and is more athletic than other defensive ends like Hunter Dimick and Jason Fanaika. He had a good spring, but also wasn't 100% healthy all spring as he dealt with a concussion for about a week. He'll battle with Fanaika for the right defensive end spot, but will be a big presence on the defensive line all season regardless of if he starts or not.

#29: Defensive Tackle - Stevie Tuikolovatu




The big nose tackle was healthy for the first time in his Utah career last season, and showed flashes of his former self, that made everybody so excited for him in 2013. Foot injuries are tough for linemen to overcome, so Stevie T may not ever get back to where he once was, but he will be one of the better back up nose tackles in the conference. He's the epitome of a gap stuffer and does a good job of taking on double teams to free up linebackers. He'll be in a backup role yet again this season, but will see lots of action in the defensive line rotation.

#28: Center/Offensive Guard - Hiva Lutui




Lutui spent 2014 as one of Utah's first offensive linemen off the bench, as he routinely filled in center and guard during the season, which included a start in the season opener. He's not the biggest guy on the field (6'1-295lbs) but is a mauler of an offensive lineman. He's great in run blocking and when asked to pull, but can be susceptible to a bull rush. It looks like he's poised for another season of being the top back up in 2014, and will push for the starting center job in 2016 as a senior.

#27: Tight End - Siale Fakailoatonga




Fakailoatonga is Utah's most experienced tight end that returns for the 2015 season, as he saw lots of playing time as both a true freshman and sophomore, but still only has 4 career catches. The Cottonwood High School product is more a typical throwback tight end that is a better blocker than receiver, but is very able in the passing game as well. He's got good size, decent speed but is very powerful. He has also shown sure hands and could emerge as a legitimate safety valve for the starting QB in the pass game.

#26: Running Back - Troy McCormick




It was strong finish to the 2014 season for the speedster from Texas, as McCormick dazzled the crowd with his speed in the Las Vegas Bowl, finishing the game with 89 yards rushing on just five attempts. The strong finish led to high hopes from the coaching staff for McCormick, but those hopes were forced to be put on hold when McCormick tore his ACL in April of this year. Early speculation points to a mid-season return for McCormick, but the question will be whether or not the injury has affected his overall speed and quickness. If it doesn't, McCormick will play a big role in the offense as a change of pace back.

#25: Defensive End - Pita Taumoepenu




Explosive. That's just one word to describe the true junior pass rusher, as Pita T has shown an explosive first step in his time as a Ute, but also showed that he is able to hold his own at times in the run game last season. He's undersized for a defensive end, but Pita T has one of the most relentless motors in college football, and if an offensive tackle isn't 100% on his toes when lining up across from him, he's going to get beat around the edge. He finished 2014 with 17 tackles, 5.5 being sacks, and should at least meet those same numbers in 2015, though exceeding them is more likely.

#24: Offensive Guard - Isaac Asiata




Asiata stepped in as a full time starter at offensive guard in 2014 after being a part time starter at right tackle in 2013. He started all 13 games and will start at left guard this season. Asiata has proven to be a very valuable run blocker and is also very good pulling around the edge. He's got quick enough feet to handle defensive ends that twist towards the inside of the formation, but can also hold his own against powerful defensive tackles. Honorable All PAC 12 in 2014 is probably the ceiling for him in 2014, but as a senior, he should push for 1st or 2nd team all-conference honors in 2016.

#23: Wide Receiver - Tim Patrick




Patrick was a late signee to the recruiting class last year, as he took care of some big academic obstacles in order to join the Utes by time the fall camp started. He was one of the standouts during last year’s fall camp, and turned that into becoming the first receiver off the bench in 2014. After the season ending injury to Dres Anderson took place, Patrick stepped in and started four games prior to suffering his own season ending leg injury against Oregon. Patrick is a big body (6'5-205lbs) and does a great job at catching the ball away from his body, but also showed that he's very capable running with the ball after the catch. He finished the season with 16 catches for 177 yards in 9 games, and is currently slated as a starter heading in to fall camp. Barring any injury setbacks, he should hang on to that spot.

#22: Snapper - Chase Dominguez




Say hello to the most unheralded player on the Utah roster, snapper Chase Dominguez. Dominguez came to Utah in 2013 and has started every game since then, and has also snapped every punt, field goal and PAT in those two seasons. That's a total of 290 snaps in live game situations, and we can't remember a single bad snap in those 290 attempts. He's a big player (6'5-225lbs) and does a good job of getting down field on punt protection, and finished last season with 3 tackles. He still has 2 more seasons at Utah, but it's hard to imagine that he won't have a great shot at having a long career in the NFL after his time as a Ute.

#21: Defensive Tackle - Viliseni Fauonuku




Small and fiery, Viliseni is the veteran of the Utah defensive line, as he enters 2014 having played in 32 career games, with 51 total tackles, 5 sacks and 12 TFL's. "Seni" is undersized at 5'11-285lbs, but his low center of gravity can be a hassle for offensive linemen to block. His size has limited his ability to become a full time starter during his career and will continue to do so this year, but he has performed more than admirably as backup the past 3 seasons. You'll often find him in the middle of any skirmishes taking place in practice, or even before games, which was the case against USC in 2014, but he's the type of personality and player that every defensive line coach would love to have.


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