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Utah Football Enters 2021 Season With High Special Teams Ambitions

Utah Utes place kicker Jadon Redding (97) kicks a field goal in Seattle on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Utah won 33-28. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah Football is on the brink of entering the 2021 season with high expectations to compete for yet another Pac-12 Championship. How will the special teams unit impact the upcoming results?

All Pac-12 Returning Kicker

Jadon Redding returns as the starting kicker for Utah, and understandably so, given that the 2020 season concluded with the news that Redding was a first-team All Pac-12 member.

Redding is entering his sophomore campaign and has a bright and fruitful future ahead of him. He is a deadeye inside of 40 yards, and he reminds me a lot of the great Louie Sakoda. He does not miss. The only concern Utah fans need to have as it relates to the kicking game is when Redding trots out for a longer field goal attempt. Strength and power is not his forte, he is no Matt Gay or Andy Phillips.

He is different in that regard. Hopefully, for Utah’s sake, he does not have to attempt many long-field goals. If Utah can put him in positions to attempt field goals inside 40 yards, he will be superb.

As he grows and develops as a kicker his range will improve. But for now, he must focus on helping this Utah football team achieve its goals and he will likely play a pivotal role in doing that.

New Aussie On The Block

Cameron Peasley has joined Utah’s roster from Australia following the departure of former punter Ben Lennon. Peasley is just a freshman, who is yet to experience the exhilarating emotions that college football provides.

He is a young kid who has no experience playing the game. Furthermore, he only spent six months training with ProKick Australia before moving to Utah. He is raw.

However, Peasley is a tall, long, and explosive athlete. He can hit very big punts. Peasley will likely take time to settle into his new way of living, expect a few hiccups early in the 2021 season.

But the experiences Peasley finds early in his career will set him up for success down the road.

Utah will opt to punt in a more traditional formation under Peasley. His strength is hitting spirals, and not rolling out of the pocket.

The Leader Of The Group

Keegan Markgraf returns for his final season in a Utah uniform. The veteran long snapper is one of the premier long snappers in the country. During this offseason, he was drafted by the Ottowa Redbacks of the Canadian Football League in the fifth round of the most recent CFL draft while also being named to the Mannelly Award watch list, an award given annually to the best college long snapper.

Utah is set at long snapper, Markgraf was also voted by his peers as one of five captains for Utah Football. He is a leader, a wonderful player, and a potential NFL talent.

Britain Covey

Finally, the most exciting element of any special team’s unit lies in the return game. Fortunately, Utah Football legend and long-time wide receiver Britain Covey will handle both punt and kickoff return duties.

The veteran leader hopes to cement himself as one of the greatest return men in Utah Football’s history in 2021. He is fast, agile, and elusive. Covey can make anybody look like a fool when they tackle him.

Covey is a better punt returner than he is a kickoff returner, but do not be fooled, the man is elite at both.

Utah Football will likely rely heavily on a strong special team showing throughout the 2021 season. Assuming the execution on special teams is up to the quality that Kyle Whittingham expects, the special team’s group will provide multiple highlight-reel plays as Utah contends for a Pac-12 title.