Going into spring ball, Ute fans no doubt were hoping that Brandon Cox, Donovan Isom, or Conner Manning would show they were the future at the quarterback for the University of Utah. Returned missionary Chase Hansen seemed to show the coaches that despite only being home for a few months, he may the third best quarterback on the roster, and is certainly No 3 going into the fall.
Bubba Poole surprised many after having been supplanted at the starting running back position by Devontae Booker in 2014, many thought Poole would be the No 2 running back after spring. Instead he was moved to slot receiver, and will have the opportunity to spend more time on the field in that position for his senior season, something many did not see coming.
Despite Poole' s move to receiver, perhaps the most surprising player that came out of spring ball on the offensive side has to be Raelon Singleton. The 6-3 redshirt freshman from Crosby, TX, earned praise from the coaches almost from the word "go" this spring. Some spectacular catches made coaches and other onlookers take note. Singleton, who sat out last season with a shoulder injury, has worked his way into the two deep. Before spring ball, many may not have been able to tell you who Singleton was, and now he appears to be Kenneth Scott's backup at X receiver heading into the spring. His big frame adds another target in the arsenal for Aaron Roderick and Jim Harding's offense, as they look to fill spots left by Kaelin Clay and Dres Anderson.
Defense on the other hand, despite losing two second round NFL draft picks, has a lot less questions. Many assumed that Reggie Porter would step into one of the starting corner back positions left by Eric Rowe. Also with a defensive line loaded with talent, that would help makeup for the loss of Nate Orchard.
A big surprise on defense this fall was the play of the junior defensive back from La Marque, TX, Brian Allen. With all the defensive backs vying for playing time at corner, Allen stands out - literally. At 6-3, the converted wide receiver immediately draws comparisons to former Ute Sean Smith. He's the type of player that can match up in stature to many of the tall wide receivers that the Utes face on the 2015 schedule. Allen will most likely find himself behind Dominique Hatfield, another converted wide receiver who solidified himself as starter last season. Expect Allen to push for playing time in situations where his height may be needed in the defensive backfield. He also displayed in the spring game, that his 6-3, 200 lb frame can dish out the punishment.
Raelon Singleton and Brian Allen are two of the surprise players coming out of spring. The success they had this spring will have to be matched in the fall, as more players are scheduled to arrive. They definitely caught the coaches attention, and will be looking for their play to translate to the field on game day this fall.