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Utah Spring Football Position Breakdown: Safeties

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most hyped players for the Utes the past couple of years has been JC transfer Tevin Carter. Carter actually should have been on the 2013 roster after transferring from LA Southwest College, but failed to qualify. Utah coaches spoke of his potential to start at safety in 2013, so much so they had him penciled in as a starter before he stepped foot on campus. When the season began, and he wasn't on the roster due to the academic issues, the Utah secondary seemed to suffer because of it. When he did finally arrive in 2014, fully eligible, he only had one year to prove what he could do.

Carter had a few spectacular plays early in the season that Utah coaches, teammates, and fans alike saw what they were missing the season before. Carter's size had some wondering if Nate Orchard's clone was playing in the secondary. His interception versus Michigan, and pick-6 at UCLA seemed to be the stepping stones to a great season. Only moments after his touchdown versus the Bruins, however, it seemed his college career was over. It looked like a promising career that would never add up to the hype. Days later it was evident all was not lost, and his injury may have been a blessing in disguise for the Utes.

That's because it became a possibility that if Carter's season was indeed over, he would have a chance to receive a medical hardship and another year of eligibility, and join a more experienced and deeper secondary in 2015. Now with the extra year of eligibility, Carter is set to move over to the starting Strong Safety from the Free Safety position he played in 2014.

Another benefit of Carter missing so much of last season, was the opportunity for some true freshmen to gain experience at safety, alongside veteran Brian Blechen in the defensive backfield. Andre Godfrey is one of those freshmen that gained this valuable D1 experience, and is looking to occupy a spot in the two-deep behind Carter. Godfrey (5-11, 190) is a speedster from Miramar, FL, and he had the skill to step on the field right away last season. He saw most of his action versus UCLA when Carter went down, and was able to pull down one of the 10 sacks on Brett Hundley. If all goes according to plan, he will probably spend most of 2015 behind Carter, and step into the starting role in 2016.

Another freshman who got valuable experience last season was Marcus Williams (6-0,190). He ultimately stepped in at free safety for Carter, and got better as the season went along. He recorded 59 tackles, and one interception. He will look to retain his position this season, but he will have some competition. Coach Whittingham has also stated that Williams needs to get bigger than 190 pounds, which is definitely light for a safety in the Pac-12.

A bit of a surprise contender to take some playing time is Wyoming transfer Jason Thompson. Thompson sat out most of 2014 due to transfer rules, but was ruled eligible once the regular season was over, and was able to play in the Las Vegas Bowl. Listed at quarterback, he took a few snaps under center, and played some special teams during that game. He seems to play with some "nasty" that suits the defensive side of the ball. He's been listed as the "or" starter with Williams.

These four players, along with incoming freshman Philip Afia and Tyson Cisrow, provide a solid group for coach Morgan Scalley to work with this season.