Football is almost here.

Ahead of the Utes’ Thursday tilt with Florida at Rice-Eccles Stadium (6 p.m. MDT, ESPN), Utah football released its first depth chart of the season.

Utes on the air


No. 14 Utah (0-0)
vs Florida (0-0)
Thursday, 6 p.m. MDT
Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: ESPN
Radio: ESPN 700


As always, take the two-deep with a grain of salt, but it does provide us an idea of the starting lineup the Utes may roll out against Florida.

Surprisingly, there was just one “OR” designation on the entire two-deep — Mycah Pittman or Mikey Matthews at slot WR.

Here are three takeaways from Utah’s opening depth chart.

Quarterback

In a surprising move, only two quarterbacks were listed on the depth chart. I presumed the second spot would have Bryson Barnes OR Nate Johnson, but the two-deep has Cam Rising listed as QB1 and Barnes as QB2.

Presumably, this would mean that Barnes, a walk-on junior, would be the starting quarterback versus Florida if Rising is not medically cleared to play in the opener.

Johnson came on strong at the end of fall camp, and on Monday, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said he and Barnes were in a “dead heat,” but it looks like Utah is going with the more experienced Barnes.

Last year, Barnes filled in when Rising was scratched from the lineup against Washington State moments before game time. On short notice — Barnes didn’t take starting reps before that game — he was 17 for 27 and threw for 175 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions in a Utah win on the road.

Barnes’ other appearance last year came in the Rose Bowl loss to Penn State after Rising’s ACL tear in the third quarter.

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Barnes passed for 175 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“He was just making less mistakes,” Whittingham said of Barnes on Aug. 15. “He knows the offense better than the other two. He’s a little more consistent and more steady. The other two guys have bright futures, can make some spectacular plays here and there, but it’s all about taking care of the football and moving the chains.”

Offensive line

Three spots along Utah’s offensive line were all but set before fall camp opened, with three starters from last season back — junior left guard Keaton Bills, sophomore right guard Michael Mokofisi and junior right tackle Sataoa Laumea.

The left tackle and center spots were up for grabs.

True freshman Spencer Fano, a four-star recruit from Timpview High School, lived up to his billing in fall camp, winning the starting left tackle spot.

“He’s such an athlete. Light on his feet, 300 pounds, 6-5-plus, athletic, competitor, great football IQ and way mature beyond his years,” Whittingham said.

An early high school graduate, Fano was able to participate in spring camp, something that was huge for his development. He then had a good fall camp and has locked down a starting spot in his first season.

Whittingham says Fano reminds him of when Pro Bowl tackle Jordan Gross was a freshman.

“He reminds me of, and again, it’s not comparison, but Jordan Gross when he came in here as a freshman ... He was tremendous, and Spencer was in that same category,” Whittingham said.

Meanwhile, senior Johnny Maea takes a step forward as the starting center. He played in seven games last year, starting the Arizona and Stanford games at center.

Nickel back

This was one of the biggest question marks for Utah’s defense, which has lots of experienced players returning.

True freshman Smith Snowden and redshirt freshmen Tao Johnson and Elijah Davis were competing for the nickel back spot in fall camp, and Johnson’s name is listed atop the two-deep at that position.

He’s another offense-turned-defense project for the Utes, as he appeared in four games at wide receiver last season (registering no stats) and seems to have impressed over spring and fall camp.

Snowden, a four-star recruit from Skyridge High School who won the Deseret News’ Mr. Football award in 2022, is on the two deep and figures to get playing time at nickel as well.

Here’s Utah’s depth chart heading into the opener.


Offense

LT
No. 55 — Spencer Fano — 6-5, 300 pounds, Fr.
No. 73 — Tanoa Togiai — 6-6, 316 pounds, So.

LG
No. 51 — Keaton Bills — 6-4, 316 pounds, Jr.
No. 79 — Alex Harrison — 6-4, 307 pounds, Jr.

C
No. 53 — Johnny Maea — 6-4, 310 pounds, Sr.
No. 61 — Kolinu’u Faaiu — 6-3, 326 pounds, So.

RG
No. 52 — Michael Mokofisi — 6-4, 320 pounds, So. 
No. 68 — Jaren Kump — 6-5, 308 pounds, So.

RT
No. 78 — Sataoa Laumea — 6-4, 311 pounds, Jr. 
No. 59 — Falcon Kaumatule — 6-8, 304 pounds, Jr.

Y - TE
No. 87 — Thomas Yassmin — 6-5, 251 pounds, Sr.
No. 47 — Miki Suguturaga — 6-4, 256 pounds, Jr.

U- TE
No. 80 — Brant Kuithe — 6-2, 229 pounds, R-Sr.
No. 14 — Landen King — 6-5, 225 pounds, So.

QB
No. 7 — Cameron Rising — 6-2, 220 pounds, Sr.
No. 16 — Bryson Barnes — 6-1, 209 pounds, Jr.

RB
No. 3 — Ja’Quinden Jackson — 6-2, 228 pounds, So.
No. 2 — Micah Bernard — 6-0, 201 pounds, Jr.

X - WR
No. 10 — Money Parks — 5-10, 175 pounds, Jr.
No. 18 — Emery Simmons — 6-1, 182 pounds, Sr.

Z - WR
No. 17 — Devaughn Vele — 6-5, 210 pounds, Jr.
No. 4 — Munir McClain — 6-4, 217 pounds, JR.

R - WR
No. 5 — Mycah Pittman — 6-0, 214 pounds, Sr. OR No. 0 — Mikey Matthews — 5-8, 180 pounds, Fr.

Defense

LE
No. 81 — Connor O’Toole  — 6-4, 251 pounds, Jr. 
No. 0 — Logan Fano — 6-4, 246 pounds, Fr.

LT
No. 58 — Junior Tafuna — 6-3, 310 pounds, Jr. 
No. 77 — Simote Pepa — 6-3, 330 pounds, So. 

RT
No. 57 — Keanu Tanuvasa — 6-4, 295 pounds, R-Fr.
No. 99 — Tevita Fotu — 6-5, 300 pounds, R-So.

RE
No. 7 — Van Fillinger — 6-4, 260 pounds, Jr. 
No. 83 — Jonah Elliss — 6-2, 246 pounds, Jr.

Rover LB
No. 21 — Karene Reid — 6-0, 227 pounds, Jr. 
No. 6 — Justin Medlock — 6-0, 220 pounds, R-Fr.

Mac LB
No. 3 — Levani Damuni — 6-2, 241 pounds, Jr. 
No. 12 — Sione Fotu — 6-0, 226, Fr.

Stud LB
No. 20 — Lander Barton — 6-4, 242 pounds, So. 
No. 14 — Josh Calvert — 6-2, 223 pounds, Jr.

Left CB
No. 4 — JaTravis Broughton — 5-11, 190 pounds, Sr. 
No. 1 — Miles Battle — 6-4, 205 pounds, Sr.

Right CB
No. 5 — Zemaiah Vaughn — 6-2, 185 pounds, Jr. 
No. 9 — Elijah Davis — 6-1, 175 pounds, R-Fr.

NB
No. 15 — Tao Johnson — 6-1, 192 pounds, R-Fr.
No. 17 — Smith Snowden — 5-10, 180 pounds, Fr.

Free S
No. 8 — Cole Bishop — 6-2, 207 pounds, Jr. 
No. 31 — Nate Ritchie — 6-2, 205 pounds, Fr.

Strong S
No. 28 — Sione Vaki — 6-0, 208 pounds, So. 
No. 10 — Johnathan Hall — 6-0, 217 pounds, Fr.

Special teams

K
No. 36 — Cole Becker — 6-3, 232 pounds, Jr.

P
No. 34 — Jack Bouwmeester — 6-2, 202 pounds, So.

KR
No. 28 — Sione Vaki — 6-0, 208 pounds, So. 

PR
No. 5 — Mycah Pittman — 6-0, 214 pounds, Sr.