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Former Ute Regrets Leaving School Early, Applauds Moss’ Decision To Stay At Utah

Quarterback Scott Mitchell #19 of the Cincinnati Bengals looking on from the sidelines during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the Bengals 18-0. (Credit: Tom Pidgeon /Allsport via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – On the heels of the announcement from four notable Utah football players that they will return for the 2019 season and their senior year, another former, legendary Ute player said he regrets his decision to forgo his senior year for the NFL. 

Juniors Bradlee Anae, Zack Moss, Julian Blackmon and Leki Fotu all decided to stick around Salt Lake City for their senior years. All four were high on the radar of NFL scouts after the Utes’ season. Utah won their first Pac-12 South Division, and went to the first football conference championship game in team history.

Despite the chance to declare for the NFL Draft, they all decided to stick around, complete their degrees, and help the Utes next year in their attempt to return to – and win – the Pac-12 Championship.

Moss missed the last five games of the 2018 season following knee surgery. He announced his return on Twitter, saying he had “unfinished business.”

Good News For Utah Fans

“This is a really exciting thing if you are a Utah fan,” said Scott Mitchell, color analyst for Utah Football and former Ute quarterback on his podcast, Helmets Off.

Moss, Utah’s star running back, is the most notable of the group. Moss finished the season with 1,092 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was high on the radar of NFL scouts following the Utes 9-5 season.

“Zack Moss could be the poster child for the Pac-12 conference next year,” said Mitchell.

Spotlight On Moss

Mitchell commended Moss’ decision and the reason he provided for staying. He talked about his own experience when faced with a similar choice.

Zack Moss had this to say about his final decision to stay:

“I want to stay in school and finish my degree. I’ll be the first person in my family to get my degree and that is important to both my mom and to me. I also want to be a part of our team goals for next year and graduate with (high school teammates) Demari (Simpkins) and Tyler (Huntley).”

Scott Mitchell’s Regret & Advice

Mitchell recalled being faced with the same choice after his junior year.

At a time before online breakdowns, player analysis and more information about what a player could expect, he chose to leave the University of Utah, enter the NFL Draft and hope for the best.

“There is a big part of me that wished I hadn’t left, that I would have stayed in school. It was a tough, tough decision,” admitted Mitchell.

He was drafted in the fourth round by the Miami Dolphins, where he backed up legendary quarterback, Dan Marino. He went on to spend 10 seasons in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals.

Despite his NFL career, Mitchell said he was talked into leaving school early, and that he “never should have done it.”

Mitchell’s advice to young players faced with the same decision?

“Go with your gut. Go with your heart.”

Listen to the full episode of Helmets Off here: