What Utah Football Fans Should Be Excited About Going Into 2021

Dec 24, 2020, 9:00 AM
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)...
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After an 11-win season in 2019, Utah seemed like they were heading for a rebuild in 2020.

That wasn’t the case as the team improved every game in their abbreviated 2020 season and finished the year with a three-game winning streak and 3-2 record.

On top of that, Utah signed one of their best recruiting classes in school history and have been active in the transfer portal. Fans also got to see the young and bright star at running back in Ty Jordan.

Here are three things that Utah football fans should be excited about going into the 2021 year.

Upgrade At Quarterback

Going into the 2020 season, many thought (rightfully so) that Utah would be deep at quarterback with Cameron Rising, Jake Bentley and Drew Lisk. Unfortunately, the Bentley pickup didn’t work according to plan. The SEC graduate transfer was beat out by Rising for the starting QB job. After Rising suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener against USC, Bentley was the guy. He showed some bright spots this season but that ultimately wasn’t enough for the coaching staff as he was benched late in the second quarter of the season finale.

Since then, the Utes have picked up a pair of QB’s in the transfer portal with four-star dual threat Texas transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson and four-year Baylor starter Charlie Brewer. Pair them up with Rising and four-star 2021 signee Peter Costelli and Utah fans have a legit and compelling quarterback battle to look forward to.

If spring ball happens, the quarterback battle will be intense even without Rising being available early in 2021. That will set up a fiery competition in fall camp.

Experienced Defense

I hope fans realize how big of a deal it was to see Utah play five games in 2020. It was basically a free year to give the young talent on defense some real game experience to speed along their development. Now, let’s hope the team will be able to hold spring ball in March/April. With eligibility frozen for the 2020 season and no one losing a year, everyone who chooses to come back next season will have experience under their belt.

That means Utah’s secondary featuring JaTravis Broughton, Clark Phillips III, Malone Mataele, Vonte Davis and others will be back and more experienced. Nate Ritchie will be gone for the next two seasons serving a church mission.

Nephi Sewell made great strides in 2020 after transitioning from safety to linebacker. If Devin Lloyd decides to go the NFL instead of returning to college in 2021, Utah will be okay at linebacker. The Utes signed three inside linebackers in Ethan Calvert, Mason Tufaga and Trey Reynolds.

Finally, Utah’s defensive line will be great just like every year.

Contending For Pac-12 South Title

Entering the 2020 season, fans didn’t have their expectations very high for Utah’s defense because it was full of young players after losing nine starters on that side of ball from 2019. They surprised everyone with how quickly they picked up the scheme and outperformed everyone’s expectations. If the Utes can get a consistent quarterback that can come in and lead a productive offense and if the defense continues to take steps forward, this team will be in serious contention for a Pac-12 South title again in 2021 and potentially winning the conference crown in the next 2-3 years.

Fans should be excited for the future of Utah football because it is extremely bright.

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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What Utah Football Fans Should Be Excited About Going Into 2021