Before Utah kicked off their practice today, the Utah SID released some notes that pertain to Utah football, and there was some big notes that came out in the release.
First of all, here’s the part of the release from the Athletic Department that had a bunch of news in it:
Junior running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole will be out for the season with an injury. Henry-Cole played in 12 games last year with one start. He rushed for 279 yards and two touchdowns in 2017, averaging 5.1 yards per carry … Junior linebacker Bryant Pirtle (Louisville, Ky./Pima CC), who signed with Utah last December, has completed his academic requirements and will begin practice today. He will temporarily wear No. 54 but will be in No. 12 for the season … Sophomore Ali’i Niumatalolo has moved from linebacker to fullback. He also plays on special teams … True freshman Malone Mataele is getting reps at nickel back in addition to safety … Utah’s offensive line is proving extremely versatile. Junior Johnny Capra and redshirt freshman Nick Ford can play all three positions (guard, center, tackle), senior Lo Falemaka and junior Paul Toala are taking reps at center and guard and junior Darrin Paulo is an option at both guard and tackle … Freshman walk-on defensive end Jaxson McBride (Bountiful, Utah/Woods Cross HS) has been added to the camp 110 roster.
There ‘s some big news that come out of that little chunk of notes from the U. First of all, Devonta’e Henry-Cole is out for the rest of the season with an arm injury that wasn’t healing the way they wanted it to, so they had to have another surgery to correct the issue. He had a nice season last year, and he missed spring and now will miss the season with this injury. He will be able to redshirt this season and still have two years left to play. This may actually help the Utes and DHC in the long term, as it will help stagger him and the two guys ahead of him, so that will help depth down the road. As for the No. 3 running back spot, the Utes have TJ Green, who had a nice spring, and freshman Devin Brumfield, who the coaches has shouted out a few times.
JC transfer Bryant Pirtle has finally been cleared and is now practicing with the team, but he’s not yet in pads. I expect Pirtle to be a contributor this season, and will be a nice addition to this defense. It’s nice not having to do the JC transfer dance with the will he/won’t he make it storylines that we get almost every year.
The last thing that jumped out at me is the offensive line shout out in the notes. It’s not a surprise to me really, but them calling out that they are really all cross-trained in multiple positions is very encouraging. The hope now that they all settle into a “home” position so they can build that continuity and learn each other’s steps, etc. I’m feeling really good about the offensive line after that call out above.