For the start of spring practice 2017, Utah released a depth chart. This will be the only depth chart released during spring football. Take this depth chart with a grain of salt because there are over five months before Utah hits the field for the 2017 season opener, so things can change. This depth chart also does not include injured players who will miss spring practice but will likely start in 2017, and 2017 recruits that will not arrive until this summer are also not on the depth chart. With all that said, let’s delve into the depth chart.
There really are not many surprises on the offensive depth chart. The offensive line looks a lot different because four starters from last season are gone. There is a good chance that Utah will experiment with different players at different positions to find the optimal line up across the line. I also would not be surprised if some 2017 recruits break into the starting line up before the season starts. The tight end depth chart will look vastly different when the season starts because both likely starters: Siale Fakailoatonga and Harrison Handley are both injured this spring and not on the depth chart. Quarterback and running back do not have surprises (expect Armund Shyne to make the two-deep at running back when he is back from injury). The three starters at wide receiver are all studs, and I like the backups a lot. It is interesting to see Troy McCormick has moved to slot receiver and that Kyle Fulks has moved to the outside.
The defensive line two-deep will certainly change before the season starts with players like Lowell Lotulelei and Kylie Fitts both injured (I have not heard officially that he got an extra year of eligibility and will work to confirm that during spring). The biggest surprise on this whole depth chart might be seeing Caleb Repp at defensive end. He played as a true freshman on offense at wide receiver and tight end in 2015 before redshirting last season. When Repp was recruited, the plan was for him to play defensive end like what Utah did with Nate Orchard, who was also a high school receiver. Utah is deep at wide receiver, and Repp is a talented athlete, so it makes sense to try him out at a different position to try to get him on the field. Linebacker looks good with three returning starters all back. The secondary also looks vastly different with four starters gone. This is the group that I think could have the most change between now and the start of the season with the additions of players from the 2017 recruiting class this summer. I love the move of Tyrone Smith from wide receiver to cornerback because his length will be a huge asset in covering bigger Pac-12 wide receivers this season. Corrion Ballard is the new starter at free safety, replacing Marcus Williams.
Hayes Hicken is the starter at kicker after handling kickoff duty last season. Ray Guy Award winner Mitch Wishnowsky is back at punter. John Aloma is slotted in at long snapper.
With so many 2017 players not on campus yet and multiple key players injured, do not take this depth chart as the final word on what the 2017 Utah football team will look like. A lot can change between now and the end of August. More players could switch positions, and guys who are penciled in to switch positions now may switch back. Overall, take this with a grain of salt and enjoy that football is back in a limited capacity.