Utah QB Jason Shelley Likely Moving To Secondary

Dec 20, 2019, 10:38 AM
Jason Shelley vs. Washington...
Jason Shelley #15 of the Utah Utes passes the ball against the Washington Huskies during the Pac 12 Championship game at Levi's Stadium on November 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After the first day of the early signing period on Wednesday, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham discussed his new recruiting class.

In that class is a graduate transfer Jake Bentley from South Carolina. With the departure of Tyler Huntley to graduation, the Utes have Texas transfer Cam Rising, Bentley, possibly Drew Lisk and Jason Shelley competing for the starting quarterback position for the 2020 season.

But, Whittingham mentioned that Shelley could make the move to the secondary.

“We are excited to have Jake (Bentley) in the quarterback room,” Whittingham said. “Cam Rising will be in the room, we are hoping to get Drew Lisk back, he is graduating in May but he may come back or he may just go on with his life but we are not sure about that. Jason Shelley and there is a good chance that he can play in the secondary for us in the future, that is still being talked about.”

Shelley is wrapping up his sophomore season with the Utes and played in 9 games, mostly in blowouts when Utah had a large lead late in the game. He completed 6 of his 11 pass attempts for 43 yards and one touchdown through the air and 19 carries for 31 yards and a score on the ground.

Last season, Shelley appeared in nine games, including five games as the starter when Huntley suffered a season ending injury against Arizona State. Through nine games last season, Shelley went 98-168 passing for 1,162 yards, 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. On the ground, he ran the ball 63 times for 192 yards and 3 touchdowns.

In his five starts last season, the Frisco, Texas native completed 92 of his 154 pass attempts for 1,063 yards, 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions.

When Utah had big leads late in the game, Shelley would be inserted but not all of the time. A couple of games, the Utes would trot out Drew Lisk and the reason for that was because he beat Shelley in practice to become the starting quarterback. But, when Utah need to chew up the clock, Shelley would go into the game because of his dual-threat style and athletic ability. That will translate well to the secondary where Utah is losing five key players in the defensive backfield.

The Utes picked up Bentley because of the recent trend of coaches using the transfer portal.

“We have a master plan for quarterbacks from year to year,” Whittingham mentioned. “With the transfer portal, that could change. Once the dust has settled and we know exactly what we need to get for the room for the ensuing season, and we are completely upfront with the quarterbacks. If we are going to take two, then we are going to tell the guys that we are recruiting that we are going to take two. If we are going to take one then we indicate that as well.”

Utah will be playing Texas in the Alamo Bowl, which will take place on Tuesday, December 31 at 5:30 p.m. in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

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