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


Kyle Ireland

Former Utah Quarterback Runs For Touchdown During USFL’s Week 8

Troy Williams ran for a touchdown during the Pittsburgh Maulers' loss to the Houston Gamblers in Week 8 of the 2023 USFL season.

22 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

‘Ute Proud’ Takes On New Meaning With Former Punter Hank Mondaca

Former Utah football punter Hank Mondaca is looking to give being "Ute Proud" a much deeper meaning for Utah Athletics with the help of his charitable organization, Athletes For Life.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Softball Can’t Overcome 8-0 Second Inning By Oklahoma State

Utah softball's magical season comes to an end after falling into an 8-0 hole against Oklahoma State that they couldn't overcome.

3 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Softball ‘Freezing A Moment’ Together At World Series

It's been 29 years since Utah softball made it to the World Series and their first game didn't go the way they wanted.

3 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Falls To Washington, Will Play Elimination Game Same Day

The Utes fell to Washington in their first game of the World Series and now will play an elimination game the same day against Oklahoma State.

3 days ago

Cam Rising - Utah Utes vs. Oregon State 2...

Michelle Bodkin

An Early Look At Utes’ 2023 Football Opponents: Oregon State Beavers

Spring ball is over making it a great time to take an early look at Utah football’s 2023 opponents featuring the Oregon State Beavers.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

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

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

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