The Utah Utes just wrapped up their first week of spring football practice and Saturday was the first day that fans and media were able to see players in full-contact drills and scrimmages.
It’s only mid-March, but the intensity and focus within the University of Utah football program already seems to be in mid-season form. Position battles are taking place and some players have already started to distance themselves from the field.
Some of my standouts from week one of Utes spring camp:
- Tyler Huntley – the sophomore has shown why, when healthy, he was the most prolific dual-threat quarterback in the Pac-12. He’s packed on some muscle and matured in the pocket. As of now, I think he’s the starter.
- Jack Tuttle – Tuttle proves what the hype surrounding him is all about. His footwork and pocket presence is at a level that I’ve never seen in a freshman QB, much less at the U. The QB position is in good hands – even beyond Tuttle and Huntley.
- Demari Simpkins – the junior from Hallandale HS(Florida) has shown what chemistry between a QB and WR can do. A high school teammate of Huntley, Simpkins has distanced himself as a standout in the WR corps.
- Bronson Boyd – the Texas Tech transfer WR has immediately reminded folks why they were excited about his arrival. Has all the tools and talent to become a primary receiver in the Pac-12.
— Porter Larsen (@Larsen_ESPN) March 10, 2018
Early on, it looks like the pieces are there for Utah to compete for a Pac-12 or at least a division title in the very near future. The offense should be much more polished in its second year under Troy Taylor and Tyler Huntley. The three-headed monster of Zack Moss, Armand Shyne and Devonta’e Henry-Cole will be a load for any defense. The receiving core faced some uncertainty after the departure of Darren Carrington and Raelon Singleton, but they look to be exceeding expectations and could be a focal point of the offense – especially when Solomon Enis and Britain Covey get to town.
Defensively, the Utes are always reliable – that doesn’t change when you have Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu and Chase Hansen anchoring your front seven. Along with one of the youngest and most talented secondary’s in college football, Utah’s defense has a chance to be genuinely formidable.
Oh, and I have one word for the special teams crew; special. Matt Gay and Mitch Wishnowsky have two of the most powerful legs I’ve ever seen in person. Field position will continue to favor the boys in crimson, just as it has for the last decade.
Coaches and players spoke to the media following Saturdays scrimmage. Here’s what they had to say:
Head Coach Kyle Whittingham talks about adjusting to the full-pads, Jack Tuttle’s maturation, defensive line and wide reliever depth.
Freshman QB Jack Tuttle talks to local media for the first time about acclimating to Utah, QB competition, the brotherhood and expectations.
Ute offensive coordinartor Troy Taylor briefly speaks to the media about QB depth and Britain Covey.
For more coverage and content, follow Porter on twitter @Larsen_ESPN.
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