Utes “Respected”, But Vele Wants Them “Feared”

Aug 8, 2022, 3:40 PM | Updated: 6:14 pm

Devaughn Vele - Utah Utes - USC Trojans...

Devaughn Vele #17 of the Utah Utes, left, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown on a first half pass reception during a college football game on October 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah wide receiver Devaughn Vele is ready to see the Utes take the next step in their growth as a college football power. 2021 gave them unprecedented respect amongst their peers and national pundits, but in 2022, Vele wants to Utah to advance to a team to be feared.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by KSL Sports (@kslsports)

“We should still have that ‘chip’ on our shoulder,” Vele said. “One thing coach Whitt has brought up and I actually really liked was being a team that is ‘feared’ rather than ‘respected’. I mentioned it earlier in another interview- a lot of teams respect us now.”

We did it on a national stage, we won a Pac-12 Championship, went nose-and-nose with Ohio State,” Vele continued. “Everybody respects us. They see us now and they are like, ‘that’s a really good football team’, but we want to be a fearful team. People see Alabama on their schedule and are like, ‘oh my goodness, it’s Alabama, it’s the Crimson Tide.’ We want that same thing for Utah now. That’s the next step we have to go to. Now that we are respected, we need people to fear us.”

Underdogs No More

The Utes have a rich history of taking big jumps that get people’s attention. The 1994 team seemingly came out of nowhere after years of mediocrity at best to end the year ranked #8 in the Coaches Poll and #10 in the AP Poll.

In 2004, an Urban Meyer led Utah team “busted” the “unbustable” Bowl Championship Series to many people’s surprise. That team would go 12-0, earning a coveted spot at the Fiesta Bowl where they beat up on Pittsburgh 35-7. Four years later they would do it again under Kyle Whittingham going 13-0 with a 31-17 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

In 2021, Utah surprised the world once more starring two unthinkable tragedies right in the face while winning their first-ever Pac-12 Championship in football and going toe-to-toe with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

In almost all of those instances the Utes were considered underdogs, but in 2022 the expectations are high. No one is doubting the Utes on a national level anymore, instead, they are expecting them to be one of the best teams in the country. In the recently released USA Today Coaches Poll, the Utes were ranked #8- the highest preseason rank in school history.

With more eyeballs on them, Vele and Whitt’s thoughts about turning things up from being simply “respected” to “feared” might just be the edge the team needs to make more magic happen for a program that’s been on a steady 20-plus year rise.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes


Michelle Bodkin

Spring Ball Review: A Look At Utah Football’s Running Backs

Today’s focus is on another group that has produced a lot of NFL talent for the Utes- Utah football’s running backs.

20 hours ago

daniel schneeman...

Brian Preece

Locals In MiLB: Former BYU Cougar Making Triple-A Case For Big League Promotion

Daniel Schneeman is on fire at the plate this season for last-place Columbus, putting himself in position to make his MLB debut this summer.

2 days ago

Pac-12, Annual Revenue, Logo...

Michelle Bodkin

Pac-12 Shares Record Financial Results From 2022-23 Fiscal Year

The Pac-12 Conference shared their financial results from the 2022-23 fiscal year noting they brought in record gains.

5 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Former Utah Football Player Greg Newman Has Passed Away, Family Raising Funds To Study CTE

Former Utah football standout defensive lineman Greg Newman has passed away according to a GoFundMe put out by his family.

5 days ago

kai roberts utah...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Baseball Ends Time In Pac-12 On High Note With Win Over Oregon In Pool Play

The Utah baseball season has likely come to an end at the Pac-12 Tournament going 1-1 in pool play with a win over the Oregon Ducks.

6 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Basketball Mourns Loss Of Kenny Gardner

The Runnin' Utes are mourning the loss of larger-than-life former player Kenny Gardner who passed away at the age of 75. 

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

Utes “Respected”, But Vele Wants Them “Feared”