Well as I write this we are 58 days away from the football season kicking off for the University of Utah. It’s what you call the “Quiet Time” of sorts at the University for Athletics, well, kinda…Utah Football was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week with the arrest of defensive back Dominique Hatfield. Here’s the latest on the situation from Matthew Piper of the Salt Lake Tribune.
On the more positive football front, Utah had a pair of players nominated for National Awards on Tuesday. Jared Norris and Devontae Booker both grabbed spots on prominent College Football Watch Lists, here’s the full release from Utah Athletics. Norris, an underrated linebacker, is on the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, which annually honors the Top Defensive Player in College Football. The award is named after Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame Defensive Lineman Chuck Bednarik, who’s nickname Concrete Charlie, highlighted his toughness. Booker is on the Maxwell Award Watch List, which goes to College Football’s Best Player annually.
The likely absence of Hatfield in the Utah Defensive Backfield this fall will open the door for a number of guys. Unlike 2-3 years ago, Utah has recruited the position hard and well and now find themselves with a great deal of depth. The loss of Eric Rowe to the NFL was going to likely slot Reggie Porter into his vacant spot, with Justin Thomas returning at the Nickel position. Now the question is..Who grabs Hatfield’s outside spot? Here are 3 potential candidates: Boobie Hobbs, a sophomore to be from Texas, who saw most of his time last year on special teams. Cory Butler, a JC Transfer from Los Angeles Harbor JC, who had 5 INT last season. Brian Allen, a junior and converted WR, who shined in the Spring Game.
If you feel like you can’t wait 58 days till Michigan arrives in Salt Lake City, give this a watch and see if it helps the football urge!
All is quiet right now on the Utah Basketball front too. The Coaches hit the road for a busy couple of weeks of recruiting, while most of the players are in Salt Lake City going to class and playing inter-squad games in Open Gym. Monday afternoon, we had Utah Big Man Jakob Poeltl on the Bill and OC Show, here’s a link to the interview and what he had to say about his decision to return and his experience at the Nike Skills Academy. Most way to early Mock Drafts have Poeltl as a Top 10 pick right now for the 2016 NBA Draft. Former Utah Big Man Dallin Bachynski has landed a Summer League deal to play with teammate Delon Wright in Toronto. Dallin will certainly be a long shot to make a NBA Roster, but the exposure in NBA Summer League should enhance his shot at landing a job overseas.
One more Utah Hoops note, the Utah Men’s Basketball program saw the 4th largest jump in average attendance in Division 1. Attendance was 12,101 per game, up nearly 2,000 from the year before.