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Looking at the First Depth Chart Before Fall Camp

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NCAA Football: Foster Farms Bowl-Indiana vs Utah Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Ahhh, the start of the college football season is nearly upon us, and it’s about damn time.

Sure, the NBA offseason has been pretty exciting -- Thank you Hayward and Kyrie -- and baseball season has brought with it a plethora of monster home runs, but nothing can replace the euphoric feeling one gets when the Utes run out onto the turf at Rice-Eccles Stadium to kick off the year.

It’s almost like Christmas Day, and I don’t take that comparison lightly (Christmas is the best holiday out there and I am that guy that listens to Christmas music months out. No shame.).

In preparation for the season, Utah Football released its first depth chart of the year on Monday morning. The team also released other information regarding its preseason camp, which begins July 28, but honestly, all eyes are on the depth chart. Most of it was what fans expected, but there were also a few surprises to the release.

One of them is the three-way battle for the QB position. Now, it’s no surprise that Kyle Whittingham will, and should, give each quarterback -- Troy Williams, Tyler Huntley and Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman -- a fair shot at the starting gig. Each brings something unique to the table; Williams was the starter last year, Huntley has shown playmaking ability and a strong arm and Bateman, well, he played at freakin’ Alabama.

In that regard, it’s not surprising to see them all tied at the top. But it’s a tid bit shocking that Williams isn’t given the starting nod given his year of experience, despite what fans want (putting it bluntly, they want Huntley). It will be interesting to see how the quarterback battle plays out, but don’t be surprised to see the exciting sophomore Huntley come out of camp as the starter.

Or it could be Bateman, who started under center for the Crimson Motherf***in Tide, at times. Or maybe Williams’ year as the starter will prove to be the dealbreaker? I clearly have no idea, so let’s just let the camp play out and see who’s done their homework this offseason in terms of welcoming in the new offensive scheme. Whoever can adjust to the new offense the quickest could be the one to get the starting nod.

Another three-way battle that will catch fans’ eyes throughout camp is at the other backfield position in running back. Losing Joe Williams is going to hurt, but we also thought that losing Devontae Booker would hurt, too. Williams was seldom-used during Booker’s tenure, but it turned out that he was a stud that just needed the carries to show it (despite his four-week hiatus from the team).

Could there be another Williams in the group of Armand Shyne, Zack Moss or Devonta’e Henry-Cole? Time will tell, but all three have potential. Shyne was filling in admirably for Williams before an injury ended his season, and his talent was visible to others, too, as he was named to the Doak Walker Award Watch List for the upcoming season.

Moss was also, at times, dangerous in the backfield for the Utes last season, especially when they relied on him as one of the last running backs on the roster after Shyne went down. Williams eventually came back and did his thing, but Moss -- as a true freshman last year -- showed he’s capable of, at the very least, splitting carries and being a serviceable back.

Meanwhile, Henry-Cole hasn’t had as much field time as the other two, but he’s shown flashes in practices and scrimmages. If the competition comes down to who can squat the most or put up the most reps of 225, DHC will have the rest of the competition easily beat. I mean, have you seen this guy? He looks like he has biceps popping out of his biceps.

There’s a very real possibility that all three share carries this year, but I think Ute fans hope one will stick out among the group and become the lead back. All three have the potential to do so (is it really a surprise that I couldn’t land on one back after my quarterback analysis?).

In terms of the rest of the depth chart, there aren’t any real surprises. The defense looks as it should, and though there are some holes to fill -- specifically in the secondary -- some of the young guns and transfers should be able to step in and be productive from the get go.

One of the more intriguing freshmen that will be stepping foot on campus this year is Jaylon Johnson, who is already listed as a co-starter at left corner. He’ll have to compete with Tyrone Smith -- who is back on the defensive side of the ball -- and Casey Hughes, but expect him to be a part of the rotation this year, whether or not he earns the starting nod come time for the season opener.

If the Utes have taught us anything in years past, it’s that this depth chart won’t look the same by the end of the season, or even by the first game. It’s impossible to tell who has an edge before fall camp even starts, so feel free to continue speculating and comparing to get yourself through the summer.

And remember…..College Football is coming.

The entire depth chart can be found below:

Utah Athletics