Phil Steele High On Utes After Watching Spring Scrimmage
SALT LAKE CITY- The buzz around the 2022 Utah football team got another endorsement Friday morning after college football guru, Phil Steele projected the Utes to be number eight in the Preseason AP Top 25. Steele’s backing comes on the heels of ESPN’s updated Way-To-Early Top 25 list that put the Utes at number four last week.
Just watched the Utah Spring game on @Pac12Network . Solid job as always by @roxybernstein and @SSylvester55 with nice breakdowns of every position (even special teams). I project Utah will be #8 in the Preseason AP Top 25 in August. @joshishoo
— Phil Steele (@philsteele042) April 29, 2022
The Utes are coming off of what is hard not to describe as a magical season in 2021 due to overcoming the shocking deaths of teammates Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe. After a rough start in the first four games going 2-2, Utah found their groove and went 7-1 through the rest of the regular season.
The effort was given an exclamation point when the Utes throttled Oregon 38-10 for a second time that season in the Pac-12 Championship game, earning them their first title since joining in 2011. Utah would also go on to play in their first Rose Bowl going toe-to-toe with an explosive Ohio State offense 48-45. Though they came up short, the performance created a lot of excitement around the Utes that has carried over into 2022.
A large reason for the intrigue around Utah is the amount of talent they return from their historic 2021 season. Utah did lose captain and team leader Devin Lloyd who went 27th in the first round of the NFL Draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars, but bring back many other key players.
With the #27 pick of the #2022NFLDraft, @Utah_Football linebacker @DevinLloyd_ is selected to @Jaguars. Congrats, Devin! #GoUtes #ProUtes #KSLDraft #Duval pic.twitter.com/D1bFtT4U43
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) April 29, 2022
Quarterback Cam Rising might be the most important piece of the puzzle for the Utes. Rising didn’t start in 2021 until four games in against Washington State after Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer left the program. Since then Rising has proven to be the guy both with his play on the field and leadership off of it.
Other important returners include running backs Tavion Thomas and Micah Bernard, tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid, along with defensive lineman Jr. Tafuna, cornerback Clark Phillips III, and safety Cole Bishop.
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