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Utah Utes To Keep Your Eye On In Fall Camp

University of Utah cornerback Javelin Guidry during fall camp. (Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With Utah football starting fall camp this week expectations are sky-high, but what about those players on the roster without through-the-roof expectations? KSL’s UnRivaled predicted Utah’s breakout players.

There is talk among players and fans about making the Rose Bowl, being proclaimed preseason Pac-12 champs and multiple Utes were featured on preseason award watch lists.

Even with the Utes expected to have a once in a decade season they will need help from the currently lesser-known players on the roster.

Scott Mitchell and Alex Kirry, co-hosts of KSL’s UnRivaled, predicted based on which players they expect to take a leap in performance or players that will come out of nowhere and surprise everyone.

To be a title team it takes a little bit of extra from everyone.

Offensive Breakout Players

This offense is held down by running back Zack Moss who is a preseason First-Team All-Pac-12, but after him, there are plenty of candidates who could take the next step, including quarterback Tyler Huntley.

Huntley, a senior, still has room for improvement according to the duo.

However, the one area that can take the biggest leap is the wide receiver unit. That is where Mitchell makes his pick.

“The one place where there is the most potential for this to happen is the wide receivers. There are a lot of good names. I look at all of these guys and say, ‘who is the guy that will really jump out’ and for me, that guy is Jaylen Dixon,” Mitchell said. “This guy is wicked fast and every time he caught the ball last year it was big game-changing plays. I think he will continue that. He has this experience and I really believe Andy Ludwig is going to find ways to get explosive plays from Jaylen Dixon.”

If the Utes get this position locked down the offense could actually close the gap between them and Kyle Whittingham’s stellar defense.

Kirry stuck with a pass catcher but instead of a wide receiver he picked tight end Cole Fotheringham as a player who is ready to take the leap with Ludwig’s offense.

“True freshman last year and absolutely blew people away his freshman year. True freshman tight end. This is something I am interested in seeing how Andy Ludwig actually deals with,” Kirry said. “I think the tight end position has always been a bunch of great athletes, big guys at the tight end position and they always seem to be underutilized.”

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Ludwig has the experience as an offensive coordinator to get the tight end involved and adding that wrinkle could go a long way for the Utes offense, according to Kirry.

“Cole Fotheringham will be a sophomore this year and was the number one guy this spring for the Utes and in an offense where all you are talking about the quarterbacks, running backs and possible breakout years for the wide receivers the tight ends could be something special,” Kirry added.

Fotheringham can be the guy to get good early yardage on first down and be a helpful fallback plan for Huntley when receivers aren’t open.

Defensive Breakout Players

This is more of a difficult choice since the Utes defense is really good and could be one of the top units in the country. Finding a defensive breakout proved to be more difficult for UnRivaled.

“The guy that I really think will have a break out for me is Javelin Guidry and I know he is a guy who has played there, but all you hear is Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson,” Mitchell said. “I’m telling you, Javelin Guidry to me might be the guy who of all of these Utah players has the longest and most productive pro career. He is kind of a little bit of an unknown.”

The Utes are well-known for their secondary under Whittingham. Having a third that could be as good or better than the two big names could be a game-changer, according to Mitchell.

Kirry picked former BYU linebacker Francis Bernard who is entering the season with a full spring and fall camp under his belt.

“Francis Bernard is my pick because Utah is replacing really, really good linebackers but he is a guy who could possibly fly under the radar, and I don’t think a lot people know how good he is”, Kirry said. “That linebacking corps might be better this year than last year and that includes two NFL guys you are trying to replace.”

If Utah does want to reach the Rose Bowl, or even make the College Football Playoffs, they will need a handful of players to have career years.

Tune into KSL’s Unrivaled every Monday through Friday, 7-9 p.m., or download the KSL NewsRadio app to subscribe to the podcast.