QB (+) Tyler Huntley will be Utah’s starting quarterback to begin the 2018 season and he will be more efficient. He should be able to add 10 pounds to his frame in the offseason and become more comfortable with his role in the offense. There will be competition from true freshman sensation Jack Tuttle in spring ball, but Tuttle will have a hard time winning the starting job game one of his first year in major college football.
RB (+) Zack Moss is a NFL caliber running back. He’s got the speed and the power. It seemed like even he was frustrated with the lack of carries he had in 2017 so I assume Utah will force the ball to him more often in 2018. Armand Shyne will also be in the mix next year as he will finally be healthy after breaking his arm in fall camp last year. WR (-) There will still be playmakers in the receiving corps for the Utes next year but there’s no way the group as a whole will be better without Darren Carrington. DC was as talented a wide receiver as the Utes have ever had. The NFL now waits for the Ex-Duck.
TE (+) This group can only get better in 2018 This group was underutilized in 2017 and there must have been a reason. We saw in the Heart of Dallas bowl against West Virginia that the TE group had “consistency” issues catching the ball. If a group of TEs can’t catch, then they’re only skinny blockers with cool wristbands.
OL (=) The offensive line for the Utes had a good year in 2017 but nowhere near as dominant a performance as we saw in 2016 when they produced 4 NFL players. In 2018 however the offensive line will have a ton of experience coming back in a unit that only loses one senior starter. Jordan Agasiva will highlight the group and has a chance to be an all-PAC12 performer.
DL (-) Utah’s defensive will take a step back in 2018 trying to replace 3 NFL caliber freaks. Fitts, Lotulelei and Mokofisi were elite and will not be replaced overnight. I like the depth Utah will have on the line in 2018 but for the first time ever in the Whittingham era the defensive line is a question mark right now.
LB (-) Losing Kavika Luafatasaga is tough. He was huge, fast and physical. The linebackers in 2018 will be headlined by Donavan Thompson, who is a thumper. That means he likes to hit people but we’ll have to wait and see how Utah handles the speed in the PAC12 in terms of their ability to cover with their linebackers.
DB (+) This might be Utah’s strongest position group in 2018. Julian Blackmon, Corrion Ballard, Marquise Blair and Chase Hansen are all-PAC12 type players. I would not be shocked if Chase Hansen bulked up and moved to his natural position of linebacker. Utah may even create a hybrid position for Hansen to take advantage of his speed and physicality
Special teams (+) Utah yet again should have the best combo of kicker/punter in the nation.
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