Utah's wide receiving corps has been an issue for years, and 2015 took the cake. It's not that Utah doesn't have fast and athletic guys. It's that they haven't been able to harness that and turn it into production, and it ultimately cost Taylor Stubblefield his job.
The Utes got a big surprise this season when true freshman Britain Covey turned into the go-to receiver this season as a sure-handed slot receiver that was tough to tackle. From the opening drive of the year, Covey was a weapon, and someone opposing teams had to gameplan for. He finished the season with 43 catches for 519 yards and 4 touchdowns, all team highs.
Kenneth Scott was the other reliable receiver, finishing off his career with a 39 catch season for 457 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bubba Poole posted 24 catches for 145 yards in a receiver/running back role, while Tyrone Smith was next on the receiver list with 18 grabs. Outside of those four, Utah receivers accounted for 12 catches. 14 if you want to count Kendal Thompson's grab and CB Corey Butler-Bird's 1 catch. That's not good.
The tight ends had a moderately productive season, but the top two guys ended their years with injuries in Siale Fakailoatonga and Evan Moeia. Moeia had 1 catch, but went down in the first game of the year. Fakailoatonga got through 6 with 12 catches before his season ended. In stepped Harrison Handley, who was more productive than either of the either guys with 21 catches for 286 yards and 4 touchdowns, most of that over the second half of the season. Handley made a case to be the starting tight end heading into 2016.
So we get to the question of why Thompson, an athletic specimen, wasn't moved to wide receiver before the bowl game? Why wasn't Butler-Bird used on offense more? Why didn't we see more deep shots to Scott that were either successful, or drew a pass interference? What's the problem here? The line pass blocked well enough. Wilson played well enough at times to take more chances throwing the ball. Whatever the issue was, Utah has to find a way to get their passing game going in 2016 to the wide receivers and tight ends more.
With Scott running out of eligibility and Covey heading out on a mission, who takes their place? There are a lot of bodies, but not much production out of the players on the roster. Does a guy like Raelon Singleton take the next step if he can stay healthy? Is the speed of Kyle Fulks going get a shot. Will Delshawn McClellon finally do something? Will Tim Patrick get another year and be able to make an impact like he did in 2014? Is Alec Dana ready to contribue right away. A lot of questions, and not many answers. Unless Utah can find a gem in their current class, or someone makes some big strides in spring, the 2016 Utah receiving corps is going to have a lot of issues, and whoever wins the starting QB job will be relying on their tight ends quite a bit.
2016 Projected Depth Chart