Utes Bulletin: Things Happening In Utah Athletics (Week Of 6/19/23)

Jun 19, 2023, 11:46 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – We have officially reached the summer “break” for Utah Athletics, but the Utes Bulletin will continue on with reviews of what happened the week before and points of interest in the weeks ahead.

This week’s Utes Bulletin features some Utah football player profiles, a funny story from the Sugar Bowl team, a White House vistit for the ski team, interesting NIL news and a report on some potential movement at San Diego State. If you missed anything from the previous week, you can check that out here.

Without further ado, here is this week’s Utes Bulletin that includes stories from the week before and what is on the radar for the coming week of 6/19/23.

Utah Utes Athletics

Utah Athletics as a whole received some very good news as to the future continuity of the department last Thursday when news broke Athletic Director Mark Harlan received a contract extension through 2028.

The Utes have seen unprecedented success the past few seasons, which culminated into a particularly outstanding competitive season in 2022-23 for the entire athletic department. While not the entire factor, Harlan has been one of the keys to Utah continuing to push forward into the upper echelons of college athletics and making sure he’s secured for the foreseeable future should help ensure that continues.

Crimson Collective

The Utes also got a boost to their NIL efforts with the hiring of former Utah Deputy Athletics Director Kyle Brennan as the CEO of the Crimson Collective.

Brennan resigned earlier in the year as Illinois State’s Athletic Director under some controversy, but has received backing from the likes of Kyle Whittingham, Dr. Chris Hill, Mark Harlan, and his former president at ISU for his new role.

While working with the Utes the first go-around in the athletic department, Brennan was known for building strong relationships and bringing in big donations. There is optimism he can bring that same tenacity to the Crimson Collective.

Pac-12 Media Rights

A report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel came out last Friday that San Diego State has alerted the Mountain West Conference that it likely intends on leaving the conference.

While not a formal departure and at least publicly, SDSU does not appear to have a formal invite to a P5 conference (widely believed to be the Pac-12), the posturing does seem to indicate a possible end in sight to the on-going media rights negotiations.

There has been speculation up to this point that June 30 could be a date to watch as the Aztecs would need to give formal notice to the MWC if they didn’t want to pay nearly twice as much in exit fees.

You can read about this story in more detail here.

Utah Football

Last week was a pretty good week for some fun Utah football headlines between some looks ahead in the 2023 schedule, some player profiles, and an anecdote from the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

Counting Down To 2023 Utah Football

Last week we took a look at one of the biggest plays from Utah’s game against San Deigo State that provided an interesting stat: the Utes’ first wide receiver touchdown of the 2022 season came in that matchup, three games into the season.

This begs the question; will a Utah wide receiver get on the board quicker in 2023? The coaching staff certainly seems determined to have the group be a bigger factor this season and will be something we watch closely as games are played.

We also took a look at the USC Trojans in week eight of Utah football’s 2023 schedule. The Trojans looked poised to be a force again in the coming season returning a lot of talent while also working to fill in some roster holes through their 2023 signing class and transfer portal additions. Between the recent history between Utah and USC and the returning talent on both sides, we expect this to be one of the better games this coming football season.

Key Utes Getting Some Respect In The Headlines

Pro Football Focus gave tight end Brante Kuithe some love last week that also fell close to the 80-day mark till the Utes kick off against Florida.

Running back Ja’Quinden Jackson was another key Utah player receiving some early love, this time from ESPN College Football Analyst Adam Breneman.

Things have been a tad quiet for starting quarterback Cam Rising largely due to the uncertainty about where his recovery is at on a torn ACL. However, one person who is still fully on the Rising train is Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy.

Finally, KSL Sports’ 60 in 60 countdown highlighted it’s first Ute player, offensive lineman Jaren Kump.

Brian Johnson, Kalani Sitake Recount Funny Sugar Bowl Moment

Former Utah quarterback Brian Johnson and linebacker coach Kalani Sitake recounted the time Johnson was left at the Super Dome after the Utes beat Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

The second “BCS Busting” Utah team was recently announced as part of Utah Athletics’ 2023 Crimson Club Hall of Fame class with Johnson, now the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles and Sitake the head coach of the BYU Cougars being two big pieces of that team’s success.

Utah Ski Team

The Utah ski team got to visit the White House last Monday with the rest of the 2022-23 NCAA Champions. The skiing Utes won their fourth straight and 16th overall National Title earlier in the year.

Utes Having Fun In The Powder League

The Powder League is in full swing having just completed their first week of competition on Friday. The pro/am league features several familiar Ute faces both former and current on and off the court. Week two of the Powder League will resume on Wednesday at the Waterford School in Sandy, Utah.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utes Bulletin: Things Happening In Utah Athletics (Week Of 6/19/23)