Looking at the Utah pass catches heading into fall camp

Utah is replacing almost all of their wide receiver production heading into 2016

By Andrew Gorringe

WIDE RECEIVERS 

The Candidates

Tim Patrick (R. Sr.)

After being sidelined for pretty much the entire 2015 season recovering from a devastating leg injury in 2014, Patrick is back and healthy, after receiving a 6th year of eligibility from the NCAA. At this point, it seems we’ve heard more about Patrick than actually seen from him, but when he was healthy in 2014, he appeared to be one of the Ute’s best WR’s. Prior to his injury, Patrick caught 16 passes for 177 yards, and was really just hitting his stride when sidelined by the leg injury. Make no mistake, when healthy, Patrick is an NFL caliber receiver. At 6’5-210lbs, he has the speed to be a deep threat, as well as the size to be a reliable possession receiver. As long as there’s no setbacks with his injured leg, he should lead all Utah receivers in 2016.

 

Cory Butler-Byrd (Sr.) 

The receiver, turned corner, turned receiver, is now back on offense full time after starting five games at cornerback in 2015. We saw a very small glimpse of Butler-Byrd’s abilities on offense last year, as he caught just one pass during the season, a 54-yard touchdown pass against Cal. Butler-Byrd has everything you want in a slot receiver. Speed, quickness and agility, and seemed to have steady hands in the limited amount of times we saw him play receiver. With the departure of Britain Covey, look for Butler-Byrd to fill his void in 2016.

 

Raelon Singleton (R. So.) 

Singleton is another tall, lengthy receiver that has struggled to stay healthy for the Utes. Singleton redshirted in 2014 due to injury, and after an impressive 2015 spring camp, struggled to stay healthy during the regular season. Singleton has as much potential as any receiver on the roster, but must stay healthy this season in order to make a significant impact.

 

Tyrone Smith (So.)

Smith joined the Utes after gray shirting in 2014, and ended starting 4 games in 2015 as a true freshman. He didn’t put up any prolific stats, but he’s another tall, lanky receiver for the Utes at 6’4-200lbs. Smith has great athleticism, but needs to become more consistent at catching the ball. Earlier this year in spring, Smith was one of the most consistent receivers on the team.

 

Kyle Fulks (R. Jr.) 

There always seems to be one player that we wonder, “why didn’t he play more last year,” and Fulks is that guy. After just touch all season, Fulks had a strong start to spring ball this year, and finished as one of the better players at the position at the end of camp. Fulks has speed for days, as he’s a sub 10.3 100M dash guy, but still needs to work on consistently catching the ball. He started fading towards the end of spring camp due to drops, but still should play a big role in the offense this season.

 

Kenric Young (Jr.)

Another big time track guy (sub 22 second 200M dash), fans have been left wondering the past two years when exactly Young will make his mark for the Utes. Young has been used sparingly during his first two seasons, but has only 4 catches for 16 yards in those two seasons. Young has plenty of speed, size and swagger to be successful, but it just hasn’t translated yet. Young was also cited for assault earlier this summer, so we’ll have to wait and see if there’s any disciplinary action for him to start the season.

 

Siaosi Wilson (R. Fr.)

Wilson is arguably the most athletic receiver on the roster, and is just oozing with potential. After redshirting in 2015, Wilson showed spurts of excellence during spring camp, but hadn’t quite put it all together yet. Once he does though, it’s tough to imagine him not being a number one receiver on this team in the future. Speed and size (6’3-180) are there, it’s just a matter of consistency and familiarity with the offense for him.

 

Caleb Repp (So.)

Other than Tyrone Smith, Caleb Repp was the most consistent wide receiver for the Utes during spring camp this year. Repp spent most of last season as a hybrid tight end/wide receiver, but has made the full time switch over to wide receiver for this year. Repp is another athletic freak for the Utes, as he has a huge wing span and big time jumping ability. At 6’4-215lbs, Repp will cause matchup problems when lining up in the slot, as we saw him do at time during the spring. He’ll also be used frequently in jump ball situations.

 

Demari Simpkins (Fr.)

Simpkins joined the Utes as an early grad earlier this spring, and had a decent spring camp as a true freshman. Simpkins is smaller and faster than most of the Utes wide receivers, but seemed to struggle with consistency during the spring. With a lot more seasoned players ahead of Simpkins, it’s easy to see him redshirting this season.

 

Alec Dana (R. So.)

 Dana was the only other receiver brought in by the Utes in the 2016 recruiting class, and one of the few JUCO transfers. Dana had a strong freshman year at Chaffey College, catching 39 passes for 543 yards and 3 touchdowns, but chose to redshirt in 2015 in order to properly rehab an injury. He joins the Utes with 3 years to play 3, and joins the long lineup of tall receivers. Dana is a well-rounded receiver at 6’2-190lbs, and has the ability to line up all over the offense. He has experience catching the deep ball and also catching bubble screens, and should prove to be a versatile receiver for the Utes.

 

Tyler Cooperwood (R. Sr.)

Cooperwood is a walk-on, but showed flashes of being able to crack the depth chart during this years’ spring camp. Cooperwood played a lot during the spring at the slot-receiver position, and showed great hands and good speed. He missed all of 2015 with an injury, and this is his last shot at making an impact for the Utes. While it’s most likely that he is only a special teams contributor, he does have the potential to sneak up on the other receivers and steal some playing time.

 

Projected End of Camp Depth Chart 

X-WR

Tyrone Smith

Caleb Repp OR

Alec Dana

 

H-WR

 Cory Butler-Byrd

Kyle Fulks

 

Z-WR

Tim Patrick

Raelon Singleton

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

The Candidates

Siale Fakailoatonga (Sr.) 

Fakailoatonga was on his way to a breakout season in 2015, as he became a reliable pass catcher for the Utes, and was also the best run blocker of all the Utes tight ends, but his season was cut short due to injury. Fakailoatonga caught 12 passes for 120 yards in 2015, and was a vital key in the run game. He’s Utah’s most well rounded player at the position, and assuming he’s healthy, should be the starter.

 

Evan Moeai (R. Sr.)

Moeai was granted a 6th year of eligibility by the NCAA after ending his season during the first drive of the first game last season, and also had a season ending injury in the season opener in 2014. Moeai is probably the most skilled pass catcher of all the tight ends, but for obvious reasons, hasn’t made much of an impact during his first two years as a Ute. If he’s healthy, he could emerge as a big time receiving threat for the Utes.

 

Harrison Handley (R. Jr.) 

With injuries to both Moeai and Fakailoatonga, Handley was thrusted in to the limelight mid-way through the season, and performed pretty admirably. Handley started 5 games and caught 21 passes for 286 receiving yards and 4 TD’s. Handley is more of a pass catcher than blocker at tight end, and has the speed and size to be a match up problem. With a crowded group at the position, Handley will probably see a reduction in stats this season.

 

Wallace Gonzalez (R. So.)

The former minor league baseball player has had a quiet two season at Utah thus far. After starting out at defensive end, and then suffering a season ending injury, as a true freshman, Gonzalez switched over to tight end in 2015. He only played in one game during the past season, and failed to make any memorable impact during spring camp.

Chad Hekking (Fr.)

Hekking returned from a two year LDS mission early, and joined the Utes in the spring of 2016 in order to participate in spring camp. Though a bit underweight, Hekking ended up being a bright spot during spring camp, and finished off camp with a boom by catching 7 passes for 63 yards in the Red-White game. He still needs some more weight and muscle added to his frame, but has great athleticism for the position, and should be a big contributor for the Utes in the future, though probably not 2016, and will likely redshirt.

 

Projected End of Camp Depth Chart

Fakailoatonga

Handley OR

Moeai


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