Spring ball is here! That means the football itch will get a bit of a scratch over the next month, and a we’ll get a bit of a preview of what Utah has coming in for the coming season. The Utes released their one and only depth chart of the spring, which to be honest, doesn’t mean much, but we can still be fans and dive into this bad boy and see if there’s anything of interest.
Before we show the chart and dive in, here are some notes from the U on the release of this depth chart to hopefully give a bit more context to the chart:
It does not include players unable to compete due to injury and players not yet enrolled. An updated 2018 depth chart will be released in late July prior to the start of preseason camp. Key returners not on the pre-spring depth chart due to injuries include defensive backs Philip Afia, Marquise Blair and Jaylon Johnson; offensive linemen Johnny Capra and Darren Paulo; running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole and wide receiver Bryan Thompson. All will miss spring training.
Lo Falemaka expects to learn in April if his application for a medical hardship extension has been approved by the NCAA. He is eligible to participate in spring camp … Wide receiver Britain Covey, a Freshman All-American in 2015, will not be in spring camp, but will participate in summer workouts. He went on an LDS church mission following his freshman season … The defensive line was the position most impacted by graduation. Junior defensive end Bradlee Anae, who has moved from right to left end, is the only starter returning on the defensive line … Back in action this spring after missing the last year and a half with injuries is junior running back Armand Shyne. Shyne was Utah’s leading rusher five games into the 2016 season before his injury, averaging 74.6 yards per game. He is now No. 2 on the depth chart behind junior Zack Moss, who rushed for 1,173 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall.
Ok with that out of the way, here is the depth chart:
First off, the offense. Everyone’s eyes will go straight to QB, and it’s no surprise Huntley is No. 1, and not really a surprise that Jason Shelley is No. 2, considering he was here last year. What will be interesting to see, as spring goes along and we get to the depth chart in July, is will Jack Tuttle crack the top 2? I know many fans will be watching this closely as we move along. At running back, it’s nice that Shyne will be able to get some run this spring. It’ll be interesting to see how much run he gets, and if the Utes are a bit careful with him as spring goes along. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he doesn’t really see any scrimmage action. The wide outs look about right, but of course, Britian Covey is the big name missing because he won’t be participating this spring after getting home from his mission. I think the combo of him and Simpkins can be scary for teams in the middle of the field.
Moving to the defense, a newly reloaded d-line is in place, and boy, look at how young they are. That’s exciting to see a young group of kids be able to play and grow together. This spring will be important for this group so they can really get some more experience under their belts. This group looks like it could be a terror for years to come. The move that people have been wondering about for years appears to be official, Chase Hansen to linebacker. I think this is a no brainer move, he has the size and speed, and he does such a good job making sure the defense is in it’s place. When it comes to getting the best 11 on the field, I think Hansen in the middle is the way to go. This is a big spring for Tyrone Smith at corner. He missed last year with an injury, and hopefully he’ll be more comfortable at corner after switching from wide receiver. The 6-4 size on the outside could be a major attribute, and with the likes of Jaylon Johnson not going this spring, he’s going to get some much needed reps.
What are your thoughts on this early depth chart, and frankly probably isn’t very important?