Now that Utah’s spring practices have concluded — culminating in last Saturday’s Spring Game — expect some changes with the roster.
The NCAA allows players to transfer without penalty as long as they enter the transfer portal before May 1.
Coach Kyle Whittingham acknowledged that players will come and go during what could be another active offseason.
“I’m sure we’ll have some guys enter the portal. Sometimes it’s a mutual decision, where we feel it’s better for them to move on and they feel that they can probably get in a situation where they can play sooner,” he said. “The portal is not always a bad thing. Guys enter it and sometimes it’s a plus for both. It opens up a scholarship for us and it gets them to a level of play that maybe they’re better suited for … I would suspect that we’ll have a handful of guys that go that route.”
For the players that remain with the Utes, they’re entering a new part of the 2022 season.
“We need to springboard this now into the summer conditioning program, which starts the first of June,” Whittingham said. “That’s the next phase of getting ready for the season. It’s going to be critical that we work hard this summer and position ourselves for fall camp.”
Freshman linebacker Lander Barton is one of several players that enrolled early at Utah in order to participate in spring ball. What’s next for him?
“I’m going to take (next week) off and give my body a rest,” he said. “Then after that, I’m going right back to business — working out, studying film every day, doing what we’re doing now minus the practice aspect. It’s back to work for me.”
“You can never master the game. It’s continuing to learn,” said freshman running back Jaylon Glover. “I know I have learning to do. (Quarterback) Cam (Rising) reminds me every day. I just want to get there and make sure I’m ready for (fall camp).”
Whittingham likes how the early enrollees showed their dedication to the program by sacrificing their final months of their high school experiences to get a jumpstart on their college careers.
“First of all, it shows their maturity by being able to take care of their academics and getting done early. Not everyone is able to do that,” Whittingham said. “They had the wherewithal and the determination and the drive to get that finished and join us early, which is a huge advantage.
“They got an extra semester of schooling and winter conditioning and spring football prior to their true freshman year — it’s a gigantic advantage,” he added. “All those freshmen that came in early — (linebacker) Carson Tabaracci, Lander, (linebacker) Justin Medlock, Jaylon Glover and (offensive lineman) Tyler Knaak, it’s such a big advantage. Where we are with linebackers, losing Devin (Lloyd) and Nephi (Sewell), and needing that position to develop, it was huge for those three linebackers to get here early and get started on their development.”
All things considered, Whittingham said his team made the most out of its 15 spring practices.
“We saw virtually every player in the program get better fundamentally and technique-wise. And that’s what you would expect. They are out there for 15 practices,” he said. “We felt like we got that accomplished. That’s always the primary objective of spring football is to get each player fundamentally and technique-wise better. We feel like we did that as well as we got some separation at some of the positions to be able to get a pecking order we can carry into fall camp.”
Utah kicks off the 2022 season at Florida on Sept. 3.