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Huntley On Track For Better Utah Career Than Alex Smith

Tyler Huntley #1 of the Utah Utes celebrates scoring a touchdown against the Washington State Cougars at Rice-Eccles Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley is playing at a very high level through the first six games of the season. He’s been good enough to earn some comparisons with Utes legend Alex Smith.

Smith was the starting quarterback in two of his three seasons on campus before skipping his senior campaign to enter his name in the NFL Draft, which he was selected as the No. 1 overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.

He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2004.

When Smith was on campus, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham was the defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, but he has seen both players up close and personal and he sees the similarities in the two players.

“I think there are a lot of similar areas,” Whittingham said at his weekly press conference. “Anytime you know the really good players and the guys that are the guys that you know are performing exceptionally well are typically the guys that are preparing well during the week.

Whittingham also said that the two quarterbacks are similar in work ethic.

They watch extra film and are doing things in the preparation process that enable them and allow them to be successful on Saturday. When I think back to Alex he was here with the same type of work ethic and the same type of preparation that went into his game week.”

Huntley Has Passed Smith’s All-Time Yardage

Since Huntley is in his senior season and Smith left after his junior year, the comparison will come from both of the quarterbacks’ last full season.

Huntley has already passed Smith on the Utes all-time leaders in career passing yards. The Florida quarterback currently has 5,652 yards in 29 games, while the California quarterback (Smith) had 5,203 yards in 25 games.

Here is the stats comparison between the two quarterbacks:

  • Alex Smith’s entire junior season: 214-317 passes (67.5 percent completion), 2,952 yards (9.3 yards per attempt), 32 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 176.5 quarterback rating.
  • Tyler Huntley’s entire junior season: 150-234 passes (64.1 percent completion), 1,788 yards (7.6 yards per attempt), 12 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, 140.1 quarterback rating.

Since Huntley has taken such a big leap this season compared to last season, here is the comparison from Smith’s first six games of his last season compared to Huntley’s numbers this season.

  • Alex Smith: 98-151 passes (64.9 percent completion), 1,460 yards, 12 touchdowns, one interception, 171 quarterback rating.
  • Tyler Huntley: 99-131 passes (75.6 percent completion), 1,393 yards, 9 touchdowns, no interceptions, 187.6 quarterback rating.

Another quarterback legend that wore a Utah uniform was Brian Johnson. Here is a comparison between Johnson and Huntley through the first six games of their senior year.

Up Next

Huntley and the Utes will look to win their third straight game when they host the 17th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The game will begin at 4 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

Crimson Corner is the one-stop for all things University of Utah Athletics hosted by Utah insider Trevor Allen. Ute fans will find interviews with current players, coaches and staff alongside expert analysis of every game, story and angle coming out of the University of Utah.

You can find the Crimson Corner podcast, here.