Breaking Down Utah Football’s 2023 Position Groups: Running Back

Jul 9, 2023, 11:05 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Fall camp is just under a month away for Utah football and to help refresh our minds for it, we’ll be breaking down each of the Utes’ 2023 position groups.

Every week till “Camp Kyle” kicks off, look for one offensive and one defensive position group per week. Today we continue on with another position group that looks pretty stacked for Utah in the running back room.

Count this as another position group where Utah seems to have more talent available to them than they will know what to do with, but also count on offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and position coach Quinton Ganther to make everyone look good at some point in the season. Between the four main returners and some of the incoming freshmen, it is hard to look at Utah’s running back roster and not be excited.


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Who Is Returning At Running Back For Utah?

After making his triumphant return to the Utes as a position coach last season, Utah legend Quinton Ganther will be heading into his second season coaching the position group he dominated in the early 2000’s as a player.

Ganther’s first season as the running back coach was a little drama-filled with the constant questions about star Tavion Thomas’ availability week-to-week, but he ultimately managed the situation well and may have ultimately found a new star in the making for 2023 in converted quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson.


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Additionally, it appears Ganther did a good job of keeping the rest of the room from fracturing in 2022 while building a strong brotherhood in a very competitive room for 2023.

It can be tough to keep a group together when there is technically one spot that several capable bodies are deserving of. If in fact this group is as close as they say, and they really do love and push each other at the same time, it could be a major strength for the Utes down the stretch of a season where there is belief the team could three-peat as Pac-12 Champions.

A Closer Look At The Running Back Returners

*Bolded names indicate significant experience.

  • Micah Bernard, Junior, 37 career games at Utah, 12 starts (11 at RB, 1 at CB), played all 14 games in 2022 recording 106 carries for 533 yards (4 TDs), 34 catches for 314 yards (1 TD) and three kick returns for 79 yards.
  • Chris Curry, Senior, appeared in three games before suffering a season-ending injury in 2022, recording 12 carries for 81 yards (6.8 ypc), saw action in nine games with 18 carries for 80 yards (4.4 ypc) in 2021.
  • Jaylon Glover, Sophomore, played nine games with two starts in 2022, rushing for 360 yards on 78 carries (4 TDs).
  • Ja’Quinden Jackson, Sophomore, played in 13 games, appearing at quarterback, running back and on special teams with 78 carries for 531 yards and nine touchdowns in 2022.
  • Charlie Vincent, Junior, played in 13 games at running back and on special teams with one start, recording 17 carries for 60 yards and one touchdown.

Who Is New At Running Back For The Utes?

The Utes had a historic signing class in 2023 and the running back group played a nice part in the ratings bump.

  • Mike Mitchell, Freshman, three-star from Middleburg, Florida
  • John Randle Jr., Freshman, four-star from Witchita, Kansas
  • Dijon Stanley, Freshman, three-star from Granada Hills, California
  • Daniel Wood, Freshman, walk-on from Gilbert, Arizona
  • Hunter Schroeder, walk-on from Mendon, Utah

Some Words From Quinton Ganther About The Utah Running Back Room.

As mentioned before, spring interviews with several people in the Utah running back room, including Ganther himself, indicated a strong bond amongst the group after a bit of a turbulent year in 2022. It was very clear talking to Ganther that he believes his core group of returners have set a strong foundation for the running backs heading into a big 2023 season for the Utes.

“I think the room is a really good room,” Ganther said during spring practices. “I will continue to say this and will say it all the time, the strength of the group, is the group. Every guy does something a little different. They bring their own flavor to the table, and I’m excited about everyone letting their personalities to come out in their play.”

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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Breaking Down Utah Football’s 2023 Position Groups: Running Back