By Steve Bartle
JJ Dielman (Sr)
The returning All Pac 12 Second Team right tackle is back for his 3rd year starting. With 26 career starts under his belt and an All-American candidacy this year, talk about the OL should start with No. 68. J.J. is sort of the unsung hero of the group. He may not have the measurables or overwhelming athleticism like some tackles in the league, J.J. wins with toughness and smarts. What will be interesting to monitor in fall camp is a possible move inside with the career ending injury to Hiva Lutui. Coach Whittingham has stated that it’s about getting the best five on the field and has mentioned Dielman specifically as a guy that may move.
Isaac Asiata (Sr)
An All Pac 12 Honorable Mention at left guard, Isaac returns with the most starts of any player on the line with 30. Isaac brings experience at multiple positions have started a minimum of 4 games at every position other than left tackle & center. An absolute monster of a man at 6’3 320 lbs, Asiata has the strength in the run game but is also rather nimble in pass protection. Much like Dielman, Asiata has also been mentioned as someone who could possibly make a move to center.
Sam Tevi (Sr)
Sam returns after starting all 13 games at left tackle last year. With great size at 6’5 300 lbs and long arms, he is every bit as athletic as he is big, he’s what every team looks for in a tackle. After a slow start last year, Tevi really came on towards the end of the season. He has all the potential in the world, but he will need to take a big step forward and be more consistent if he is going to continue to start at left tackle.
Salesi Uhatafe (Jr)
Over the last two years, Uhatafe has played in 26 games at right guard and has started 12, 7 of which came last year. The 6’4 315 lb Uhatafe is set to start again this year and has the build, mobility, and experience you want. A fan favorite after a rough go of things off the field when he first arrived to Utah, Salesi is poised for a breakout year, and could put himself on NFL radar’s.
Garrett Bolles (Rs Jr)
The prized 2016 signee, Garrett is expected to compete for, and win, the starting left tackle spot. The NJCAA First Team All-American basically had his choice of attending any college across the country. At 6’6 296 lbs, Bolles looks like a prototypical left tackle, he has an unbelievable combination of size, athleticism, and nastiness. Assuming he wins the job, his presence should have a very positive ripple effect on the rest of the line.
Jackson Barton (Rs So)
The RS Sophomore returns after rotating in 11 games at both tackle spots last year. Jackson has great size at 6’7 310 lbs. and athletic enough to succeed at either position. He is in an interesting situation at tackle. He could take another step in his development and earn a starting spot or he could wind up being the 4th tackle in the rotation (a good amount of this depends on what happens with Dielman).
Darrin Paulo (Rs Fr)
Redshirted last year, he’s unbelievably big for a guy listed at 6’5 310 lbs. He’s a mountain. Darrin is the backup at both guard positions and is expected to be in the rotation. He’s a powerful guy but still moves rather well.
Nick Nowakowski (Sr)
Nick is a 6’1 295 lb Sr. that has mostly special teams experience. With the injury to Hiva, the staff is looking to him to possibly fill the role as he is currently listed as the starting center. He missed spring ball due to injury, so he’s going to have to really impress.
Lo Falemaka (Rs Jr)
With the injuries to Hiva and Nowakowski, Falemaka received a lot of the reps at center and performed fairly well. He’s a 6’5 300 pounder, so he’s got good size. He’s currently listed as the backup at center, a strong fall camp will be important.
Johnny Capra (Rs FR)
Capra redshirted last year but looks to be a good tackle prospect down the road. Great size at 6’6 300 lbs., he had a very up & down spring.
Nick Carmen (Rs Fr)
Carmen redshirted last year, but he is a very tough and intelligent player. He’s listed at 6’3 290, but appears smaller than that. He’ll need more time to develop physically before he’s ready for reps.
Keven Dixon (Rs Fr)
Keven also redshirted last year, he’s 6’5 277 and needs a more time to develop physically before he’s ready to take the field. He had a tough time going up against the very good defensive linemen during the spring.
Jake Grant (Fr.)
Grant originally from the 2015 class, delayed his enrollment an entire year to help the scholarship situation. He took reps at guard in the spring and held his own. With time, now that he’s in the strength program, Grant will be a player.
Scott Peck (Fr)
Scott is another big lineman at 6’6 310 lbs. He was a 2016 signee that enrolled early and was able to participate in spring camp. Some development physically is needed so a redshirt is expected for him this year.
Projected End of Camp Depth Chart
Nick Nowakowski OR