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‘Best to wear it’: Top Utah Utes football players to wear jersey Nos. 20-39

Deseret News continues to pick the best BYU and Utah football players to wear all 99 numbers, 20 at a time

Utah’s Eric Weddle left, and Casey Evans celebrate after Weddle recovered a fumble againsit Air Force Academy Sept. 22, 2005.
Utah’s Eric Weddle, left, and Casey Evans celebrate after Weddle recovered a fumble againsit Air Force Academy Sept. 22, 2005.
Tom Smart, Deseret News

Editor’s note: Second in a series that pegs the best player to don every jersey number in Utah football history.

SALT LAKE CITY — Here’s the second installment of noteworthy numbers when it comes to University of Utah football. Today’s effort covers numbers 20-39.

There were several close calls.

No. 20: Marcus Williams, defensive back

Netted 188 tackles and 11 interceptions in three seasons with the Utes. The two-time All-Pac-12 honoree was drafted in the second round by the New Orleans Saints in 2017, receiving all-rookie accolades. Also considered: Devin Lloyd, Luke Pappas.

No. 21: Stuart Vaughan, halfback

The favorite target of Lee Grosscup led the nation with 53 receptions and 756 receiving yards in 1957. Scored five touchdowns that season while earning first-team all-conference recognition and Mountain States Player of the Year honors. Topped the Utes in receiving in 1956 as well. Also considered: Andre Dyson.

Utah Utes linebacker Chase Hansen (22) brings down Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Micah Simon (13) BYU and Utah play at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.
Utah Utes linebacker Chase Hansen (22) brings down BYU wide receiver Micah Simon (13) BYU and Utah play at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

No. 22: Chase Hansen, linebacker

Posted some impressive career numbers with the Utes, finishing with 272 tackles (164 solo) with 33.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, six interceptions, five fumble recoveries and four forced fumbles. The three-time All-Pac-12 selection was named an All-American as a senior. Also considered: Mike Anderson, Frank Branham, Tony Lindsay

No. 23: Devontae Booker, running back

Junior college transfer posted back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Utah in 2014-15. Before being drafted by the Denver Broncos, Booker racked up 2,773 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns for the Utes — averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Also considered: Julian Blackmon, Sean Knox, John Madsen, Loren Richey.

No. 24: Bernard McGarry, tackle

Captain of Utah’s Sun Bowl championship team in 1939. Even kicked two PATs in the 26-0 win over New Mexico. Earned first-team All-America honors from Central Press before playing four seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Rams. Also considered: Eric Jacobsen.

Morgan Scalley, Sione Pouha and Alex Smith clebrate their victory of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ., Jan 1, 2005. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News. He was also named a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and SI.com.
Morgan Scalley, Sione Pouha and Alex Smith clebrate their victory of the 2005 Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ., Jan 1, 2005.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

No. 25: Morgan Scalley, safety

All-America safety for Utah’s undefeated Fiesta Bowl championship team. The 2004 Mountain West co-Defensive Player of the Year, who was also an award-winning punt returner, also received academic accolades. Received the Pat Tillman Award at the East-West Shrine Game as a senior. Also considered: Ron Coleman, Carl Monroe, Steve Odom.

No. 26: Terrell Burgess, strong safety

Worked his way into a starting role as a senior. The strong safety, who was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Rams in 2020, topped the secondary with 81 tackles (7.5 for loss) and two fumble recoveries last season. Also considered: Paul Bolden, Bob Bonifacio, Joe Petricca.

No. 27: Brandon Burton, cornerback

Perhaps best known for blocking a field goal attempt by rival BYU on the final play of a 17-16 victory in 2010, Burton proved be quite a force as a starting cornerback. He had 18 career pass breakups for the Utes. Was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Also considered: Tally Stevens.

20151128 Utah Utes running back Joe Williams (28) is hit by Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Grant Watanabe (45) as Utah and Colorado play Rice Eccles stadium in Salt Lake City Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.
20151128 Utah Utes running back Joe Williams (28) is hit by Colorado Buffaloes linebacker Grant Watanabe (45) as Utah and Colorado play Rice Eccles stadium in Salt Lake City Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

No. 28: Joe Williams, running back

Lured out of retirement in 2016 when the Utes faced mounting injuries at running back. Williams returned on Oct. 11 and posted six 100-yard games. Finished with 1,407 yards rushing in nine starts. Holds Utah records for single-game rushing yards (332) and single-season per game average (156.3 ypg). Drafted by San Francisco. Also considered: Dameon Hunter, Floyd Spendlove, Steve Tate, Reggie Wilson.

No. 29: Ryan Smith, cornerback

Although he would change jersey numbers as a sophomore and then transfer to Florida and win the national championship the following year, Smith was a Freshman All-American as No. 29 for the Utes in 2004. He made 44 tackles and a team-high seven pass breakups that season for the Fiesta Bowl champions. Also considered: Reggie Porter.

No. 30: Karl Schleckman, tackle

Multi-sport athlete, who also excelled in track (hammer throw) and wrestling (going undefeated from 1935-38), played in the 1938 East-West Shrine Game. The two-time all-conference honoree was an honorable mention All-American as a senior. Also considered: Cody Barton, Frank Nelson, Don Peterson.

No. 31: Casey Evans, safety

Led the Mountain West Conference with five interceptions in 2005. Racked up 202 tackles in his four-year career with the Utes. Made big plays (recovering late fumbles) in victories over rival BYU in both 2004 and 2005.

No. 32: Eric Weddle, defensive back

The third consensus All-American in team history was a two-time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year (2005-06). Versatile athlete saw action on both sides of the ball. Before heading to the NFL’s Chargers, Weddle had 277 tackles and 18 interceptions in his career with the Utes. Also considered: Jamal Anderson, Eddie Johnson.

Utah punter Tom Hackett celebrates a good punt as Utah and Stanford play Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Utah punter Tom Hackett celebrates a good punt as Utah and Stanford play Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

No. 33: Tom Hackett, punter

Won back-to-back Ray Guy Awards (2014, 2015) as the nation’s top punter. Named a consensus All-American both years. Graduated with several school records. Averaged 45.2 yards over 242 career punts. Also considered: Del “Popcorn” Rodgers, Mitch Wishnowsky.

No. 34: Bubba Poole, running back

Prior to switching jersey numbers in the midst of his college career, Poole represented No. 34 well by leading the Utes with 607 yards rushing in 2013. Played three seasons for Utah, netting 844 yards on the ground and 467 yards receiving. Also considered: Sam Baldwin.

No. 35: Louie Sakoda, kicker/punter

Holds the distinction of being the first unanimous consensus All-American in the history of the program. Sakoda received first-team honors from the AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, Sporting News and Walter Camp in 2008. Three-time MWC Special Teams Player of the Year. Finalist for both the Lou Groza and Ray Guy awards. Also considered: Robert Love, Dave Revill.

Utah’s Eddie Wide high steps through he line trying to get more yardage. Utah and UNLV Football. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.
Utah’s Eddie Wide high steps through he line trying to get more yardage. Utah and UNLV Football. Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010.
Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

No. 36: Eddie Wide, running back

Broke a school-record with six consecutive 100-yard games rushing. Wound up as one of the top running backs in Utah history with career totals of 2,013 yards rushing, 401 carries and 23 touchdowns from 2007-10. Had 1,069 yards on the ground in 2009. Also considered: George Bean, Allen Jacobs, Bronzell Miller.

No. 37: Earl Pomeroy, fullback

Known as “Powerhouse,” Pomeroy received All-America honors from three organizations (I.N.S., Consolidated Press and Associated Press) in 1929.

No. 38: Armand Boglin, linebacker

Made a successful transition from the junior college ranks. Played at Utah in 1995-96 and made 86 tackles including seven sacks. Also had two interceptions and a pair of ford fumbles.

No. 39: Andy Phillips, kicker

Former member of the U.S. Ski Team made a smooth transition to football. Phillips was a four-time All-Pac-12 selection and Lou Groza semifinalist. He earned All-America status in 2015. Concluded his Utah career as the team record-holder in field goals made, fields goals attempted, points scored and points per game. Also considered: Joe Phillips.