Facebook Twitter

What stands out about Utah football’s first depth chart of fall camp

SHARE What stands out about Utah football’s first depth chart of fall camp

Cornerback Clark Phillips III puts on his helmet as he and the rest of the University of Utah football team open spring camp in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 2, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s later than expected, but the Utah football team finally hit the field Friday for its first day of fall camp.

One of the customary parts of the opening of camp is the release of a depth chart, and there are several things of note when scanning through the Utes’ initial two-deep:

Quarterback battle: The biggest question heading into fall camp is who will replace Tyler Huntley at quarterback — grad transfer Jake Bentley, Texas transfer Cam Rising or senior Drew Lisk, the only one of the three to play thus far for Utah. It’s no big surprise, then, that all three are listed on the depth chart, with no designation who the leader is. Regarding Bentley, who was 19-14 as a starter at South Carolina, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig told the media Friday, “He showed a quick take to what we’re doing offensively. ... He’s a guy who made the absolute most of this unique time.”

Early leaders at running back: The Utah backfield will also have another new starter, with the departure of the school’s all-time leading rusher, Zack Moss. At the start of camp, junior Devin Brumfield and sophomore Jordan Wilmore sit atop the depth chart at the position. Brumfield was third on the team last season, with 263 rushing yards and two touchdowns, while Wilmore added 194 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive line experience: A look across the Utes’ offensive line shows there is plenty of returning experience back, with four starters returning — junior Nick Ford (21 career starts) at left tackle, sophomore Braden Daniels (14) at left guard, senior Orlando Umana (25) at center and sophomore Simi Moala (12) at right tackle. The other starter is sophomore Johnny Maea (one career start) at right guard. Behind the starters, there is only one upperclassman on the two deep — senior Bamidele Olaseni, a junior college transfer.

“It’s got the potential for very, very good depth,” Ludwig said of the group.

Ten true freshmen on the defensive depth chart: Much has been made of the Utes losing nine defensive starters this season, which included six Utah defenders who were taken in the 2020 NFL draft. They’ll have a lot of young players expected to contribute immediately, if the first depth chart is any indication, with 10 true freshmen among the defensive two-deep.

Cornerback Clark Phillips III, the highest ranked recruit the program has ever signed, is listed as a backup at nickel back. Fellow true freshmen cornerbacks Faybian Marks and Zemaiah Vaughn also made the two-deep, and three true freshmen appear at defensive end in Xavier Carlton, Van Fillinger and Junior Tafuna, a returned missionary.

The other true freshmen on the two-deep include Tanoa Togiai at left tackle, Sione Fotu at Mac linebacker and Nate Ritchie at strong safety.

Britain Covey and the depth at receiver: Covey is set to return after missing all but four games last year with a nagging leg injury, and as usual, he’s expected to contribute in a variety of ways. He’s listed as one of three junior starters at wide receiver, and will also be the lead kickoff returner and punt returner, while also serving as the backup at holder.

Covey isn’t the only receiver returning with experience. Juniors Bryan Thompson and Solomon Enis are listed as the other starters, with senior Samson Nacua and junior Jaylen Dixon on the two-deep. It’s even more experienced at tight end, with junior Brant Kuithe and Cole Fotheringham back. The pair have a combined 34 career starts.