Less than a month after entering the NCAA transfer portal, Utah running back Micah Bernard is reportedly returning to the Utah Utes’ football program.

UteZone’s Steve Bartle first reported Friday that the 6-foot, 202-pound Bernard will withdraw from the portal and return to Utah, and KSL Sports later reported the same, saying that “things are moving in a positive direction” for Bernard to stick with the Utes.

While Bernard did not officially make a statement regarding any decision, he later appeared to confirm the news when on his Instagram story he shared a headline from a Utah fan page that read, “Micah Bernard is returning to Utah for the 2023 season.”

Bernard has started 12 games over the past two seasons for Utah, including one at cornerback in the 2022 Rose Bowl when Utah had injury limitations at the position. 

In four seasons with the Utes’ program, Bernard has rushed for 1,136 yards and six touchdowns, while also catching 64 passes for 590 yards and three touchdowns.

He was Utah’s second-leading rusher during the 2022 season, with 533 yards and four touchdowns with a 5.0 yards-per-carry average. Bernard also caught 34 passes for 314 yards and one touchdown.

Bartle reported that Bernard took official visits to South Carolina, Missouri and Colorado while also receiving interest from Auburn and UCLA before deciding to rejoin the Utes.

With his reported return, Utah is expected to be even more stocked at the running back position, even with leading rusher Tavion Thomas declaring for the NFL draft.

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Converted quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson ran for 531 yards and nine touchdowns for the Utes during the 2022 season, and true freshman Jaylon Glover put up 360 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Chris Curry is back as well, after missing much of the past season with an injury. 

Utah’s 2023 recruiting class also includes three running back signees: John Randle Jr., Dijon Stanley and Mike Mitchell. Randle Jr. and Stanley are both rated four-star prospects in 247 Sports’ composite rankings.

It’s not the first time in recent memory of a skill position player making a return to Kyle Whittingham’s team after entering the portal. 

Wide receiver Jaylen Dixon did just that, returning to the program after entering the portal in October 2020. During the 2022 season, Dixon caught 33 passes for 344 yards with three touchdowns, and he also had 10 carries for 118 yards and four touchdowns.

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