MNUte Breakout Player: Kaelin Clay - wide receiver, senior:
Looking up and down the offensive roster, the player who I predict will have the highest impact is wide receiver Kaelin Clay. Of all the newcomers, I think Clay brings the most to the table with his speed, elusiveness, and return capabilities. Adding him to the starting lineup will allow for more creativity on Dave Christensen's part, allowing Clay and proven deep threat Dres Anderson to switch between going deep or cutting underneath to pick up yards after the catch. Clay should hurt teams who try to double cover Dres or stack the box against the run. Furthermore, his ability to return punts should help the Utes try to regain a special teams edge that had been lacking since the loss of Reggie Dunn (although really, how have the Utes been so lucky in the past with special teamers? Dunn, Louie Sakoda, and now two preseason All Americans). In short, the Utes get a valuable weapon who should impact the game in many different ways.
HuskyandUte Breakout Player: Devontae Booker - running back, junior:
I can totally see the logic for picking Kaelin Clay as the breakout player for 2014 as he brings a lot to the table both on offense and special teams, but I have to go with Devontae Booker. Both will be very important to the success of the offense, but I give the edge to Booker because he's been with the team longer, and I think the biggest key for Utah's offense to be successful (outside of maybe o-line play) is to have a running back who can get the tough yards. Utah needs a guy who they can lean on in the fourth quarter and one who can get four yards on third and three. I think Booker is that guy since he has a good combination of speed and power. Without playing a down of major college football, Phil Steele felt confident enough in Booker's abilities to have him as fourth team All Pac-12. In 2011, Utah was 8-0 when John White rushed for 100 yards and 0-5 when he had less than 100 yards. They were running a different offensive scheme and had a terrible quarterback, but I think that stat line illustrates how important running the football is for Utah to be successful. Being able to move the chains on the ground and getting 4+ yards on the ground on first down would be huge for Utah's offense. I think Booker has the ability to be a 1,000+-yard running back in Christensen's offense. Having a guy like Booker could also open up the passing game. Safeties will start to cheat up some to stop the run, opening up the field for guys like Dres (and possibly Clay). There are also some great play-action pass options and screens that Utah could do with a good running game. The key to Utah's offense is a solid running game, and I believe the best candidate to be the feature running back is Booker.