Five Thoughts On Utah’s Depth Chart Ahead Of Season Opener

Nov 2, 2020, 10:00 AM

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)...

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It is officially game week for Utah football as they prepare to face Arizona on Saturday, November 7.

The Utes released their two-deep depth chart leading up to the opener and that is filled with surprises and questions.

Here is five thoughts along with the entire depth chart that was released on Monday morning.

1. Offensive Line Changes

As expected, Nick Ford is starting at left tackle and Orlando Umana is at center. A couple of things stood out on the latest depth chart and that is Keaton Bills or Braeden Daniels are starting at left guard. Johnny Maea is not listed on the two-deep at right guard, Sataoa Laumea is the starter with Bamidele Olaseni.

At right tackle, Simi Moala is projected as the starter as is true freshman Jaren Kump. Kump has made a huge impression on the coaches during fall camp to the point that he could be starting.

2. No R.J. Hubert At Safety

After suffering a season-ending injury in the Pac-12 Championship game last year, R.J. Hubert was not listed on Utah’s depth chart.

“He’s coming off that serious injury that he had in the championship game,” Kyle Whittingham said at his weekly press conference. “He’s not himself yet. He’s still a little bit off the pace. R.J. is a fine football player and a guy that when he’s right, definitely a guy that is going to help us. But right now, he’s just trying to get back to where he was prior to the injury and it’s been a long hard road for him. But he’s still with us. It’s kind of like Britain Covey covered last year, very similar situation, other than R.J. is probably further behind than Britain was when he tried to come back. So that being the case, we’ve had to move past him for the time being. But I’ve got a lot of optimism that at some point down the road, he’ll get back to where he was prior to the injury and be able to start to help us.”

Nate Ritchie will get the start at safety in place of Hubert.

3. Cornerback Starters

On October 25, I predicted Utah’s depth chart. In that prediction, Clark Phillips III, JaTravis Broughton and Malone Mataele were starters at cornerback. Phillips was getting reps early in camp at nickel so that’s helpful as he is the backup to Mataele at that position.

JaTravis Broughton will start at left corner with Faybian Marks as his backup. Phillips will start at right corner with Bronson Boyd backing him up.

4. Starting Rover Linebacker

The linebacker position is solidified now after Nephi Sewell won the job to start alongside Devin Lloyd. Sewell made the move from safety to linebacker during the off-season. Andrew Mata’afa will back him up while Bingham true freshman Sione Fotu will backup Lloyd at mac linebacker.

5. Defensive Line Depth

Utah listed Mika Tafua to start at left end with Blake Kuithe as the backup. Maxs Tupai starting at right end with Van Fillinger the backup. Left tackle is Hauati Pututau with Tennessee Pututau as the backup. Viane Moala at right tackle and Miki Suguturaga as the backup.

Xavier Carlton is not in the two-deep but will see playing time this season. It also shows how much progress Blake Kuithe has made in camp. Miki Suguturaga has not been talked about by the coaches as much as Tanoa Togiai. But Togiai will also get some game reps as will Pita Tonga.

Here is the entire depth chart:



Starter: Drew Lisk
Jake Bentley
Cameron Rising

Running Back

Starter: Devin Brumfield
Jordan Wilmore

Wide Receiver

Starter: Bryan Thompson
Backup: Samson Nacua

Wide Receiver

Starter: Solomon Enis
Backup: Devaughn Vele

Wide Receiver

Starter: Britain Covey
Backup: Samson Nacua

Tight End

Starter: Cole Fotheringham
Brant Kuithe
Backup: Dalton Kincaid

Left Tackle

Starter: Nick Ford
Backup: Luke Felix-Fualalo

Left Guard

Starter: Braeden Daniels
Keaton Bills


Starter: Orlando Umana
Backup: Paul Maile

Right Guard

Starter: Sataoa Laumea
Backup: Bamidele Olaseni

Right Tackle

Starter: Simi Moala
Jaren Kump


Left End

Starter: Mika Tafua
Backup: Blake Kuithe

Left Tackle

Starter: Hauati Pututau
Backup: Tennessee Pututau

Right Tackle

Starter: Viane Moala
Backup: Miki Suguturaga

Right End

Starter: Maxs Tupai
Backup: Van Fillinger

Rover Linebacker

Starter: Nephi Sewell
Backup: Andrew Mata’afa

Mac Linebacker

Starter: Devin Lloyd
Backup: Sione Lund

Left Cornerback

Starter: JaTravis Broughton
Backup: Faybian Marks

Right Cornerback

Starter: Clark Phillips III
Backup: Bronson Boyd

Nickel Back

Starter: Malone Mataele
Backup: Clark Phillips III

Free Safety

Starter: Vontae Davis
Backup: Zemaiah Vaughn

Strong Safety

Starter: Nate Ritchie
Backup: Kamo’i Latu

Special Teams


Starter: Jadon Redding
Jordan Noyes


Starter: Ben Lennon
Backup: Jared March


Starter: Skyler Southam
Backup: Jordan Noyes


Starter: Ben Lennon
Backup: Britain Covey


Starter: Keegan Markgraf
Backup: Noah Rodriguez-Trammell

Kickoff Returner

Starter: Britain Covey
Backup: Bryan Thompson

Punt Returner

Starter: Britain Covey
Backup: Samson Nacua

Utah will open the 2020 season on Saturday, November 7 at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Arizona. The game will begin at 2 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Five Thoughts On Utah’s Depth Chart Ahead Of Season Opener