Mohamoud Diabate or Gabe Reid? Clayton Isbell, Landon Morris or Logan Kendall?
What about recent JUCO transfers Luca Caldarella, Jadon Pearson and Ti’Quan Gilmore?
All of the aforementioned players have transferred or are expected to transfer to the University of Utah ahead of the 2022 college football season, but which one will be the most important addition for the Utes come the fall?
The answer obviously won’t actually be determined until the season itself, but it is prediction season right now, and according to 247 Sports’ Will Backus the answer is Diabate, the former Florida linebacker.
A four-star recruit coming out of high school — and a key cog in the Gators’ defense the last two seasons — Diabate is expected to step into the void left by former Utah star Devin Lloyd.
Per Backus, that makes Diabate Utah’s most important offseason addition.
“Utah’s most glaring hole on its defense is the linebacker spot vacated by star Devin Lloyd, who was taken in the first round of the 2022 NFL draft,” Backus wrote.
“Diabate was a pivotal piece on Florida’s defense in one form or another since he stepped foot on campus in 2019 as a freshman and brings three years of SEC experience to the Pac-12.”
There is an argument that Diabate won’t be the most important transfer, however.
Utah is deep at linebacker — albeit young — and the secondary showed cracks during the 2022 season, so perhaps Isbell, a former Illinois State safety, or Pearson, a former Reedley College safety, will be a more important addition.
Any additions of the pass catching variety — Morris is a former Syracuse tight end, Kendall is a former Idaho tight end, plus there are the JUCO wide receivers Caldarella and Gilmore — could add significant punch to Utah’s passing game — something the Utes seem to almost always be looking for — but the safe bet is Diabate.
“The 6-foot-3, 227 pound ’backer has a ton of versatility,” Backus wrote, “and is comfortable both off the edge and inside, as evidenced by his 89 tackles and four quarterback pressures from last season.”
Backus didn’t limit himself to just Utah. He selected a most important addition for every Power Five team. Here are his Pac-12 selections:
- Arizona — former Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura.
- Arizona State — former Miami defensive lineman Nesta Jade Silvera.
- Cal — former Washington linebacker Jackson Sirmon.
- Colorado — former Baylor wide receiver RJ Sneed.
- Oregon — former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix.
- Oregon State — former Georgia Tech running back Jamious Griffin.
- Stanford — former Oklahoma defensive back Patrick Fields.
- UCLA — former North Texas edge rushers Gabriel Murphy and Grayson Murphy.
- USC — former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams.
- Washington — former New Mexico running back Aaron Dumas.
- Washington State — former Incarnate Word quarterback Cameron Ward.