A week into spring practices, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham likes what he’s seeing in terms of the newcomers’ performances and the leadership the veterans are providing. 

On Tuesday, the Utes participated in their first day of “live” work after holding three practices last week. 

“We evaluated last week as a whole. We had three good practices. We put the pads on on Saturday with no tackling to the ground,” Whittingham said. “(Tuesday) we tackled and got a look at some guys for the first time in that situation and I thought they responded well.” 

Among the newcomers that have been able to show what they can do is freshman running back Jaylon Glover, a 5-foot-7, 211-pounder from Lakeland, Florida. 

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Glover, Florida’s 6A Player of the Year, rushed 272 times for 2,073 yards and 26 touchdowns his senior year. 

“Jaylon Glover looked good,” Whittingham said. “He ripped off about a 50-yard run (during practice).”

Whittingham added that Glover is “very mature. He’s not like a kid that should still be in high school. He’s got a tremendous work ethic. He’s organized in all facets of his life. He’s got things completely laid out as far as what he wants to do, his goals. He’s a guy that we think is going to be a very good player for us.”

Other freshmen highlighted by Whittingham included linebacker Lander Barton and quarterback Brandon Rose

“A lot of good things from the guys that are getting their first live action,” Whittingham said. 

At the safety position, sophomore Cole Bishop returns. 

“Cole Bishop is a tremendous player,” Whittingham said. “We saw that last year, starting as a true freshman. 

Senior R.J. Hubert, who has played sparingly the past two seasons, is back in action.  

Hubert saw action in 13 games for the Utes in 2019, but then played in only four games in 2020. Last season, he played as a reserve in the Rose Bowl. 

“RJ Hubert is healthy 100%. He doesn’t have to wear a knee brace,” Whittingham said. “Right now, if we had to play tomorrow, it would be RJ and Cole as the starting safeties.”

Kamo’i Latu is hampered by a leg injury but he’s expected to return to the field next week, according to Whittingham. Also in the mix are Bryson Reeves and Bleu Stewart. 

Though Utah has lost leaders like Devin Lloyd, Nick Ford and Britain Covey to graduation, Whittingham is pleased with the way new leaders are making an impact.

Utah quarterback Brandon Rose throws
Utah quarterback Brandon Rose drops back to pass during 2022 spring camp at the University of Utah. | University of Utah Athletics

“Without a doubt. That’s the cycle of college football. You lose most of your leaders each year because most of your leaders are typically upperclassmen. We’ve had guys stepping up,” he said. “Cam Rising is an outstanding leader. Brant Kuithe and Cam are the captains of the offense, doing a great job.

“Clark Phillips is an outstanding leader. Devin Kaufusi, Cole Bishop, though he’s just a true sophomore. We have a lot of leaders that now it’s their turn to step up and be vocal and show what they can do in that capacity.”