For the third time in a little over a month, a member of the University of Utah secondary entered the NCAA transfer portal.
Jadon Pearson made the announcement on Thursday, less than a year after he joined the Utes program as a junior college transfer.
Since mid-March, Utah’s entries into the portal have all come from the secondary, including safety Clayton Isbell and cornerback Caine Savage. Isbell has since committed to Coastal Carolina.
Both Pearson and Savage were mainly depth pieces during their time at Utah, while Isbell was the primary backup to R.J. Hubert at free safety last season. Isbell played in 14 games in 2022, starting one, and had 16 tackles — he appeared primed for a bigger role on Utah’s defense this year with Hubert gone.
The 6-foot-3, 197-pound Pearson, who joined the Utes from Reedley College, played in 13 games as a reserve last season, mainly on special teams. He finished the year with five tackles.
Pearson, who is a junior, will have two years of eligibility remaining wherever he ends up.
“Thank you to the University of Utah for bringing me in and teaching (me) lessons outside of football that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I am thankful that I was apart of a Pac12 championship and other memories such as the Rose Bowl,” Pearson said in a message shared on Twitter.
Pearson was a three-star junior college transfer prospect coming out of Reedley last year and was rated the No. 34 junior college player in the recruiting class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.
He held scholarship offers from a dozen schools, per 247 Sports, a list that includes Power Five programs Oregon State, Florida State, Washington State, Missouri, Indiana and Kansas, along with several Mountain West schools.
Even with the departures of Pearson and Isbell, Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley earlier said he likes the depth at the safety position, a group which includes Cole Bishop (who earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors last season), Sione Vaki, returned missionary Nate Ritchie and Darrien “Bleu” Stewart.
“That’s what the spring is for. We feel that we have it in the safety room. We’re definitely going to miss Clayton and we wish him nothing but the best,” Scalley told the Deseret News’ Jeff Call for a story published last week.
“We’ve seen that in this day and age of the transfer portal, that stuff is going to happen. How have you recruited? How have you developed? We feel like we’re in a good spot.”
The Utes wrap up spring ball on Saturday with their spring game.