SALT LAKE CITY — Two of Utah’s top eight receivers last season were tight ends. Sophomores Brant Kuithe and Cole Fotheringham finished with 34 and 16 receptions, respectively. Kuithe’s total, which included six touchdowns, topped the team. 

The duo, noted Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, took a lion’s share of the reps in helping the Utes repeat as Pac-12 South champions. 

Kuithe, in fact, earned third-team All-America recognition from Pro Football Focus, and led the Utes with 602 receiving yards. He also rushed for 102 yards and three scores. His nine TDs overall tied for first in the nation among tight ends.

“When he does get the ball in his hands, he is dynamic with the ball and making plays,” Whittingham said late in the season. “He has always been athletic, nothing has changed in that regard, but he is a guy that is a weapon for us now.”

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Fotheringham, meanwhile, started all 14 games last season — adding to Utah’s strength at the position.

“We feel good,” Whittingham said. “We’ve got them back.”

The Utes, as it turns out, have ALL of their tight ends back — the reserves and then some. A relatively deep situation includes sophomore Thomas Yassmin. Whittingham said the rugby player from Australia has done a good job and has progressed as he continues to learn and grasp American football.

“We think he has a tremendous upside,” Whittingham continued.

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The Utes, he added, are also glad to have junior Bapa Falemaka back in the mix. Falemaka is returning from a noncontact knee injury. He hasn’t played in a game since 2017.

Senior Ali’i Niumatalolo rounds out the group.

Whittingham acknowledged that the Utes would have taken a tight end in this year’s recruiting class if they came across the right one. However, that never materialized.

In the meantime, Utah appears to be in a good place at tight end. The Utes have the benefit of continuity.

“We’ve got all those guys back,” Whittingham said.