Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the Utes on offense heading into 2017

The Utes replace a ton of their production on offense, but do bring back their QB

Quarterback

Troy Williams (Sr)

Tyler Huntley (So)

Will Troy Williams make the jump next season? He was very much up and down this season, but finished on a mostly down note. Against good defenses, Williams really only had one good performance (USC). His development in the offseason is going to determine whether or not Utah is fighting for a bowl berth or competing for the South title. The issues with Williams were the same we've seen in years past at the quarterback spot; inconsistency. He has the tools and we've seen him run a team with a high level of leadership, but bigger performances from week to week would go a long ways. If I'm Whittingham, though, I open up the quarterback spot in the spring. If Tyler Huntley is close to Williams throughout spring ball, bring that competition into fall. Huntley did get reps early in the season, but a lack of decisive Utah wins kept him on the bench when more bigger wins would have given him some valuable 4th quarter reps. If the sophomore to be can put on some weight and be more consistent in his decision making, we could have a fun battle. Utah does have Texas product Jason Shelley coming in, but we won't count any players as coming until they've signed a letter of intent. 

Running Back

Zack Moss (So)

Armand Shyne (Jr)

Troy McCormick (Sr)

Devontae Henry-Cole (So)

The loss of Joe Williams hurts, but the Utes do have bodies to replace him. Zack Moss has the potential to go for 1,000 yards next season if he gets the reps, as does the battering ram known as Armand Shyne if he's back at full form after tearing an ACL. Will Troy McCormick be back? The injuries have piled up and you have to wonder if a medical retirement is on the horizon after playing sparsely throughout the year. Devontae Henry-Cole returns to add some depth and could be the speedy back if McCormick doesn't return, but he only had one carry on the season and maybe be another year away from contributing heavily.

Wide Receiver

Raelon Singleton (Jr)

Caleb Repp (So)

Wide Receiver

Siaosi Wilson (So)

Alec Dana (Jr)

Wide Receiver

Demari Simpkins (So)

Kyle Fulks (Sr)

The Utes lose their top two wide receiving targets in Tim Patrick and Coy Butler-Byrd, but the returning players should be ready to make a nice jump. Raelon Singleton has the talent and athleticism to be an all conference type of player. He should be over 40 catches in 2017, pushing for 50. Siaosi Wilson came on strong down the stretch and showed an ability to make big catches. He's got a good frame, and if he adds another 5 pounds, could be a tough physical matchup. Demari Simpkins disappeared from time to time, but showed an ability to make the big play (see Colorado touchdown). He should be more consistent next year, and hopefully show better hands. Kyle Fulks had trouble hanging on to balls this year, but will be the fastest receiver next season. Utah can use him in a variety of ways, but he'll have to grab those opportunities and show that he can consistently make plays. Alec Dana has good size after using redshirting this past year after coming in from a JC. He's talented, but needs to be healthy. Caleb Repp may have as much pure potential as any receiver. He wasn't mentally and physically ready to roll this past season and the coaches had him redshirt. Looking for a breakout candidate? Repp is your guy. Overall, the group doesn't look bad, but no one scares you much like Patrick and Butler-Byrd did. Utah will need someone to step up and become a dangerous weapon to help make Troy Williams more comfortable.

Tight End

Siale Fakailoatonga (Sr)

Harrison Handley (Sr)

Wallace Gonzalez (Jr)

Chad Hekking (Fr)

Fakailoatonga should be back after the torn ACL that forced him to miss the season and Handley is a very good receiver when healthy. Wallace provides a strong blocking element, while Hekking is a great athlete who has poor hands right now. If everyone stays healthy, this is a good group.

Offensive Line

Left Tackle

Garrett Bolles (Sr)

Darrin Paulo (So)

Left Guard

Darrin Paulo (So)

Keven Dixon (So)

Center

Lo Falemaka (Sr)

Jake Grant (Fr)

Right Guard

Leka Uhatafe

Nick Carman (So)

Right Tackle

Jackson Barton (Jr)

Johnny Capra (So)

The offensive line will be good if Garrett Bolles comes back. If he doesn't? Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhh.  You don't want to put too much on one player on a five man unit, but when that guy is potentially the best offensive lineman in the country next season, it will hurt. For now, we'll assume Bolles comes back to work on his pass blocking so he can move into the first round of the 2018 draft as a tackle. Right now he's a 3rd or 4th round guy that they'll likely stick at guard to start. Barton will slide in at the right tackle spot, and with another offseason, should be an upgrade over Sam Tevi. Lo Falemaka will slide back into his center spot that he lost when he was injured. Overall, that should be an upgrade over Nowakowski. Darrin Paulo would start at tackle for most schools. With all of that, the Utes look good on the starting front. After that? Question marks all over the place. No experience and guys that haven't developed as quickly as the staff would have liked. If Scott Peck is fully healed from his injury that kept you him in 2016, that will be a big boost as he has a ton of potential. For now though, the Utes are pretty thin when it comes to guys that have shown they can play.


Ute Zone Top Stories