A season ago the defensive line of Utah made a name for themselves nationally. They were so good that many renamed
It’s not fair to expect a single player to live up to the 18.5 sacks Nate Orchard had last year. That was something special. Some of Utah’s best pass rushers in recent history didn’t even come close to matching that kind of production. Trevor Reilly recorded 9 sacks in 2013, Paul Kruger had 7.5 in 2008 and Joe Kruger had 6 sacks in 2012. In the last ten years, only two players have recorded double digit sacks for the Utes in a season. Those players are Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick, both last season. That being said, Utah has always had a deep and talented defensive line and so far through spring practice, the defensive line shows signs of being dominant once again.
Moving forward, the obvious candidate to take over as "Mayor" of
Last season with Orchard
Currently, behind Dimck at the strong side end position is Kylie Fitts. You may remember Fitts as a four star recruit the Utes were hoping to land as part of the 2013 recruiting class. He ended up signing with UCLA before transferring and sitting out last season with the Utes. At 6-4 275 lbs. Fitts is a physical specimen at the defensive end position.
Coming out of high school, Fitts was the No. 12 ranked defensive end in the country and No. 1 defensive end, according to scout.com. ESPN had him ranked as the No. 8 recruit out of the state of California. He was named all-league three years in a row in high school, totaling 90 tackles and 10 sacks in his junior year, and 31 tackles and 4 sacks in only six games his senior year. Fitts has not played much since his high school days, recording only one tackle during his freshman season as a backup with the Bruins. The talent is there, however for Fitts to emerge as a major player on the defensive line.
On the right side of the line, Jason Fanaika and Pita Taumoepenu are battling it out for the opportunity to replace Orchard as the starter. Both have serious potential to replace Orchard as Utah’s sack leader. Pita Taumoepenu is brimming with potential. The junior is the fastest member of the defensive line with a 4.6 40 yard dash.
The defensive tackle rotation will include Lowell Lotuleilei, Filipo Mokofisi and Viliseni Fauonuku this season and will cause teams headaches.