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Utah football continues to build depth, talent from transfer portal — college football’s version of ‘free agency’

It’s only May, but Utah’s football coaches are actively recruiting transfer players

Four members of the Utah Utes football team are seen from the back as they walk across a football field. They are wearing jerseys with words  (“PEACE” “EQUALITY” and “HOPE”) across the back above their numbers.
Utah Utes players wear messages such as peace, equality and hope on their jerseys before the game between the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
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It’s only May, but Utah’s football coaches are actively recruiting transfer players.

Just in the past week, the Utes have added three players from Power Five programs, and two from the Pac-12 — safety Brandon McKinney from Washington; wide receiver Theo Howard from Oklahoma; and linebacker Josh Calvert from Washington.

All three will be eligible immediately, giving Utah instant experience at those positions.

During spring practices, coach Kyle Whittingham addressed the high numbers of players transferring and how he approaches the transfer portal.

“You react and fill the void proportionately with the portal. It’s just the way college football is now. It’s free agency within college football,” he said. “The way we look at it is, your high school guys are your draftees and your free agents are the portal guys. You’ve got to have both. You have to be able to get a blend of those incoming players.”

In other news, longtime Utah baseball coach Bill Kinneberg announced he will retire at the end of the season after 18 seasons with the Utes during two stints. He spent 37 years in college baseball.

Utah wraps up the season this week against USC at Ogden’s Lindquist Field.

Numbers game

7: Transfers from Power Five programs into Utah’s football program during the offseason.

381: Games won at Utah by coach Bill Kinneberg over 18 seasons.

1,459: Receiving yards accumulated by new Utah wide receiver Theo Howard during four seasons at UCLA, before transferring to Oklahoma.

From the archives

Extra points

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Comments from Deseret News readers

This (Theo Howard) may be the piece that completes the monster Ute team for the coming season. I wish him well. I know he has battled a few health issues but I hope they are behind him. One thing for certain (to me) is that if the Sooners signed him up he must have a ton of potential. Stay well, young man. Enjoy a great University and head coach.

— top of the world

Grateful for Coach BK’s contributions, particularly for our Pac-12 championship, but it’s time for a change. We’ll always be hard-pressed to be a juggernaut as a cold-weather school, particularly in such an elite conference, but our ceiling is undoubtedly higher than where we’re currently at. I’m a big fan of our program & believe we’ll find the right person to take us to the next level. GO UTES!

— AZUTE5

Up next

May 27 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Ogden

May 28 | 6 p.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Odgen

May 29 | 11 a.m. | Baseball | vs. USC | @Odgen


Ute Insiders will be taking a break for the next couple of weeks. Look for a new edition June 17.