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Why replacing Zack Moss could be a challenge for Utah’s running back group

The Utes have several candidates vying for the position

Utah Utes running back Devin Brumfield (6) runs the ball during the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Is there life after Zack Moss at running back for the Utah Utes?

“Oh yeah, there has to be and there will be,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who added that there are a lot of candidates to fill the shoes.

Even so, it won’t be easy. Moss was the first three-time 1,000-yard rusher in team history and capped his stellar career as the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year and an All-American.

The cast of hopefuls to become Utah’s primary ball carrier includes junior Devin Brumfield and sophomore Jordan Wilmore. The returnees were third and fourth, respectively, for the Utes in rushing last season — behind Moss and quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Brumfield had 59 carries for 263 yards. He scored two touchdowns and averaged 4.5 yards per run. Wilmore netted 194 yards on 49 attempts, scoring one TD and averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

T.J. Green, a junior, is also in the mix. He ran for 68 yards and a touchdown over 23 attempts. Redshirt freshman Micah Bernard will also compete for playing time.

Utah’s pool of running backs was reduced after the season when senior Devonta’e Henry-Cole transferred to BYU.

The Utes, beforehand, added Texas prep standout Ty Jordan (West Mesquite HS) during the early signing period. The 5-foot-7, 190-pound running back had 13 100-yard games in his career. Whittingham describes Jordan as a “tremendous player” with speed.

“He is fast. He is a 10.50 100-meter guy. He is thick, he isn’t very tall, but he is put together really well,” Whittingham said on signing day. “He had a lot of offers and was very sought after. He is a guy that we think will be very dynamic in this system and we think Andy (Ludwig) will put him to work right away.”

The search to replace Moss is well under way.

“We have plenty of options there and we’ll see who rises to the top,” Whittingham said.