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Johnson emerging as QB leader?

If yesterday's scrimmage is any indication, Brian Johnson might be ready for his fiery return. Johnson, who is still recovering from knee surgery after last year's injury, put on a show in Utah's first scrimmage of the season. On the first play out of the gate, Johnson threw a 40-yard bomb to sophomore Brent Casteel, signaling that maybe he isn't ready to concede his starting job to Brett Ratliff just yet. In limited snaps, he wracked up 111 yards and completed 6 of 8 passes while tossing for one touchdown. Johnson led Utah's #1 offense against the Utes #2 defense after Brett Ratliff and Tommy Grady failed to score against the Utes #1 defense.

A few series later Tommy Grady stepped up and showed why Coach Whittingham has been so high on him since spring. Grady completed 7 of 11 passes for 111 yards and threw for 2 touchdowns, including a 53 yard throw to Casteel that was hauled in for the score against the Utes #1 defense. Fano Tagovailoa was on the receiving end of Grady's 2nd touchdown. Ratliff was the least impressive of Utah's 3 contenders, however he still had a decent outing. Ratliff completed 5 of 9 passes for 75 yards and one score, a 15 yard pass to Derrek Richards during the red zone part of the drills.

Brent Casteel ended the day with 3 catches for an impressive 99 yards and Marquis Wilson had 5 catches for 78 yards. Darryl Poston was Utah's leading rusher, rushing for 23 yards on 8 carries. Mike Liti ran for 22 yards on 6 carries, including a touchdown run. On the defensive side of the ball Derek Beardall, Chet Blasucci and Stevenson Sylvester all each recorded one sack. Thomas Bradley had the lone interception, picking off backup quarterback Kevin Dunn -- who struggled through the air, going 0-4 on the day.

Though it's still too early to pick a starting quarterback, all three look to be capable options for Kyle Whittingham and the choice will be difficult. Brian Johnson had the most impressive day by far, while Grady actually played better than Ratliff for the first time since arriving in Utah. Either way you look at it, Utah's Big 3 went 18-of-28 for 294 yards and scored 4 touchdowns while throwing zero interceptions. Not too shabby.