SALT LAKE CITY — Coming off a season that started promising and saw the Utah Utes rise as high as No. 5 in the polls before losing to Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game, the Utes are garnering preseason national respect once again.

Fox Sports has the Utes ranked No. 25 in its 2020 preseason rankings. Utah will have a lot of talent to replace this season, with quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zack Moss gone, along with stars on the defense — Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu, Jaylon Johnson and Terrell Burgess, just to name a few. Despite the turnover, optimism runs high with talent like four-star cornerback Clark Phillips III ready to fill in on defense.

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Fox Sports’ Matt Leinart has confidence in Ute head coach Kyle Whittingham.

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“(Whittingham)’s never had a five-star recruit, yet he’s won 10-plus games in back-to-back seasons. He’s been to a Pac-12 Championship in back-to-back seasons. He’s 11-3 in bowl games ... which means he’s had tremendous success against other conferences ... I think we all agree Kyle Whittingham is one of the best coaches in America,” Leinart said.

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