UTAH UTES

Utah Football Will See Shakeup At Defensive End Heading Into 2021 Season

Aug 4, 2021, 9:09 PM
Xavier Carlton - Utah Utes vs. Oregon State Beavers...
Utah DE Xavier Carlton (44) in a game between the Oregon State Beavers and the Utah Utes on December 5, 2020 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – As the University of Utah football team started fall camp, they did so without one of their starting defensive ends.

After the first day of fall camp concluded, head coach Kyle Whittingham confirmed the Maxs Tupai will not be playing for the Utes this season.

“No, it doesn’t look like Maxs will be with us this year,” Whittingham said. “So that’s unfortunate and we’ll miss him. But he’s going to not be with us as far as playing for us this year.”

Whittingham didn’t disclose the reason for Tupai’s departure. The Murray High School star played in 36 career games with 13 starts. He had six tackles, one tackle for loss and a sack, along with two forced fumbles, one quarterback hurry and a pass breakup last season in five games.

Now the Utes will turn to two talented young players in Xavier Carlton and Van Fillinger, who were both freshmen in 2020. With college eligibility frozen last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are true freshmen again. Whittingham believes both of them are ready to step in and fill the void at defensive end on the opposite side of Mika Tafua.

“Yep, they are,” Whittingham stated. “They had good experience last year. So even though they are true freshmen on the roster, they’re not true freshmen experience wise, and you add Miki Suguturaga to that group. He’ll be the fourth guy. And that’s what we’re going to go and figure out who’s going to be number five and six as we go through fall camp.”

Carlton was a four-star prospect coming out of Juan Diego High School. He played in four games last season. Fillinger was also a four-star prospect from Corner Canyon High School. He played in all five games in 2020.

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.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes

Ethan Atagi - BYU...
KSL Sports

Week 5: How To Watch, Stream Or Listen To Local College Football

Week 5 of the college football season is here and the local contests include an in-state matchup between BYU and Utah State on Thursday.
11 hours ago
Lynne Roberts - Utah Utes vs. Cal - Pac-12 Tournament...
Michelle Bodkin

Lynne Roberts, Utah Women’s Basketball Prepare For New Season

Utah women's basketball head coach Lynne Roberts is off and running ahead of what many hope will be another successful season for the Utes.
1 day ago
Women's gymnastics co-head coach Megan Marsden cheers during the Utah gymnastics Red Rocks Preview ...
Michelle Bodkin

Utah Athletics Celebrating 50 Years Of Title IX This Weekend

Utah Athletics announced this afternoon the opening of their online auction to benefit Utes with Wings- a program dedicated to supporting women in sports at the University of Utah as part of their celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Title IX this weekend.
1 day ago
Utah Utes - Washington State Cougars...
Michelle Bodkin

Utah Reveals “Homecoming” Uniforms Against Oregon State At The Pie

It's Homecoming Weekend up on the hill which means Utah football will be wearing their "Homecoming" uniforms against Oregon State.
1 day ago
(Photo courtesy of Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)...
Michelle Bodkin

Burned By Oregon State Last Year, Utah’s Run Defense Improves

Utah is about to host Oregon State this weekend and the run defense will be a huge priority in stopping the Beavers.
1 day ago
Brant Kuithe - Utah Utes - USC Trojans...
Michelle Bodkin

Kuithe Shares Message Of Encouragement After Season Ending Injury

Since the injury last weekend, Kuithe has been silent until he posted a message of encouragement and thanks to his Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
2 days ago
Utah Football Will See Shakeup At Defensive End Heading Into 2021 Season