Utah Cornerbacks Have Most Potential With Young Talent

Jul 18, 2021, 4:36 PM
JaTravis Broughton, Clark Phillips III and Malone Mataele - Utah Utes Football...
(Photos courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photos courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – One of the most talented positions for Utah football might be one of the younger groups is the cornerbacks heading into the 2021 season.

Utah has three cornerbacks that are entering their super sophomore season, including JaTravis Broughton, Malone Mataele and Aaron Lowe. LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson and Drew Rawls are redshirt freshmen again. Clark Phillips III, Faybian Marks and Kenzel Lawler are freshmen again despite playing last season. Eligibility was frozen in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here is a look at the cornerback position for the Utes entering the 2021 season.

Returning Talent

JaTravis Broughton is the most experienced cornerback returning for Utah, who is entering his super sophomore year. He has 19 games with five starts under his belt. While starting all five games last season at left cornerback, Broughton was named Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention. Broughton finished the 2020 season with 26 tackles, two tackles for loss, four pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Clark Phillips III had a great freshman season that is poised for a breakout year in 2021. He started at right cornerback in all five games last season while playing some snaps at nickel when Malone Mataele left a game early. Phillips recorded 25 tackles, two tackles for loss, a fumble recover, two pass breakups and an interception that was taken to the end zone for a touchdown.

Malone Mataele played in four games last season and started the last two contests at nickel. He hadfive tackles and three passes defended. The speedster will look to round into form for a full 12-game schedule in 2021 in a really stacked and young secondary.

Caine Savage is back at cornerback after playing wide receiver during spring ball. He played in three games on special teams in 2020. Savage will look to get playing time as he works his way into the rotation at one of the cornerback positions.

Faybian Marks had some big moments in 2020 when he stepped in at right cornerback when Clark Phillips played nickel. Marks played in all five games, including three on defense. He had five tackles, one pass breakup and an interception against Washington.

Aaron Lowe played in all five games on special teams in 2020 and 11 games in 2019. He can play some safety along with cornerback. Lowe recently changed his number to 22 in honor of Ty Jordan, who is from the same hometown.

Kenzel Lawler did not see any action in 2020 as he is working his way into the rotation. The Corona, California native was a three-star recruit coming out of high school.

LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson has some size and speed that will be fighting for playing time in the fall. He used his redshirt in 2019 and did not see any action in 2020.

Drew Rawls played in two games on special teams, picking up a tackle against Oregon State in 2020. He had four appearances on special teams and defense during the 2019 campaign.


Elisha Lloyd is joining the Utes as a part of the 2021 recruiting class after previously committing to Washington State. He is a three-star prospect from Mission Hills HS in San Marcos, California.

Starter Predictions

This will be much like last year. JaTravis Broughton will start at left corner, Clark Phillips III at right corner with Malone Mataele at nickel. Phillips has the ability to play at any of the three positions. Caine Savage, Faybian Marks and LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson will be competing for time as will Drew Rawls and Aaron Lowe.

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.

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