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Five Utah Football Players That Can Provide Fireworks This Season

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Lucas Bacon (82) makes a catch against Utah Utes cornerback Clark Phillips III (8) during an NCAA football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football is filled with young and talented players that are ready to showcase their skills over a full 12-game schedule.

The Utes had a very young team in 2020 that gained valuable experience in five games but are ready for a full schedule.

In honor of the Fourth of July, here are five players that could provide fireworks for the Utah football team this season.

1. Clark Phillips III, Cornerback

Utah’s highest rated recruit in program history lived up to the hype in 2020 with a tremendous freshman season. The thing is that Phillips is only scratching the surface. With a full 12-game schedule, Phillips will be able to show what he is capable of against some of the best playmakers in the country.

His ability to play either side at corner as well as nickel, Phillips is one of the most young and talented defensive backs in the Pac-12. He will look to build off of the momentum from the 2020 season finale when he took an interception to the house against Washington State. The pick-six kept Utah’s streak alive with 17 straight seasons of having at least one interception returned for a touchdown.

2. Xavier Carlton/Van Fillinger, Defensive Ends

The future on the edges for Utah resides in two hometown heroes in Juan Diego star Xavier Carlton and Corner Canyon stud Van Fillinger. Both were four star prospects coming out of high school. They will both get some meaningful reps this upcoming season as they sit behind Mika Tafua and Maxs Tupai.

I think both of them have the potential to have breakout seasons for Utah in 2021.

3. Micah Bernard, Running Back

Getting T.J. Pledger from Oklahoma and Chris Curry from LSU have made some people overlook Micah Bernard. The young running back is the favorite to start in the season opener against Weber State and the coaches have been pleased with his progression.

Going into the last game of the 2020 season, Bernard was one of two running backs that were on scholarship that were available against Washington State alongside Ty Jordan. That was because Devin Brumfield and Jordan Wilmore entered the transfer portal before the last game.

He has the potential to be another big time running back in the rich tradition at the position for Utah football.

4. Jaylen Dixon, Wide Receiver

When both Bryan Thompson and Samson Nacua left the program during the offseason, that left the Utes very thin at wide receiver. They got a boost when Jaylen Dixon decided to take his name out of the portal and return to the team.

His speed makes him a very reliable deep-ball threat will give the quarterback plenty of options, especially paired with Britain Covey.

5. Devin Kaufusi, Defensive Tackle

When Devin Kaufusi transferred to Utah from BYU, he wasn’t a starter for the Cougars. He joined the their rivals and has already put himself in contention to start at a very deep position at defensive tackle.

Kaufusi joined Utah to originally play defensive end but the coaches moved him inside with his 6’7 frame. It’s been the “perfect fit” for him.

Utah will kickoff the 2021 season on Thursday, September 2 against Weber State at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

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