Breaking Down Utah Football’s 2023 Position Groups: Wide Receivers

Jul 11, 2023, 11:40 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 take a look at the one group the Utes are still trying to figure out a little- the wide receivers.

This is a group that has always had some talent in it but has struggled at times to establish themselves as a consistent part of the offensive game plan for whatever reason. This season, Utah will be breaking in a new receiver coach in Alvis Whitted, and just a few months into his tenure seems to have already helped to bolster the group for what could be another big year for the Utes.


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Who Is Returning At Receiver For Utah?

As mentioned, Whitted is the lone new coach on Utah’s staff in 2023. The biggest goal for Whitted in year one is to get a little more from a group who has been “fine” in years past, but if they shift to “good”, could be a difference maker in helping Utah jump the next proverbial hurdle in their rise through college football.

Make no mistake, there is some veteran talent in the room along with some exciting newcomers, it will just be a matter of getting the collective whole to catch that extra pass more often or bring in that easy touchdown on a more consistent basis. Basically, prove you can be relied upon not only in the small moments, but the moments when the lights are brightest too.

A Closer Look At The Wide Receiver Returners

*Bolded names indicate significant experience.

  • Luca Caldarella, Junior, played in five games on special teams in 2022.
  • Makai Cope, Sophomore, played in 13 games with three starts, recording seven receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown last season.
  • Kaimana Hanohano, Redshirt Freshman, saw no action in 2022.
  • Sidney Mbanasor, Redshirt Freshman, played in two games at wide receiver and on special teams last year.
  • Munir McClain, Junior, played in nine games with one start, recording two catches for 18 yards as a *tight end* last season.
  • Jett Meine, Redshirt Freshman, saw no action in 2022.
  • Money Parks, Junior, played in all 14 games with three starts, recording 26 catches for 414 yards (2 TDs), six rushes for 36 yards and three kick returns for 61 yards in 2022.
  • Devaughn Vele, Junior, 37 career games with 19 starts at Utah, played in all 14 games with 12 starts, ranked second on the team in receptions (55) and receiving yards (695), scored five touchdowns along with 26 punt returns for 246 yards.

Who Is New At Receiver For The Utes?

The Utes had a historic signing class in 2023 that included some promising incoming high school talent at receiver, as well as some more veteran help from the transfer portal.

  • Mikey Matthews, Freshman, three-star from Mission Viejo, California.
  • Daidren Zipperer, Freshman, three-star from Lakeland, Florida.
  • Kainoa Carvalho, Freshman, three-star from Kahuku, Hawaii.
  • Cade Baker, Freshman, walk-on from Highland, Utah.
  • Emery Simmons, three-star Indiana transfer.
  • Mycah Pittman, four-star Florida State transfer.


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Some Words From Alvis Whitted About The Utah Receiver Room.

At the end of spring ball, Whitted was asked about the depth of his receiver room since it was brought up a few times as the one concern for the Utes moving forward. Whitted agreed with that notion in this comment, and it’s interesting to see how that has been addressed a bit since the end of spring. This group might be the most interesting to watch in 2023 just to see how quickly they can show growth under a new coach.

“As a staff we will continue to put our heads together and address it moving forward after spring ball,” Whitted said of the receiver room. “Obviously, we have to get on the road and recruit, but there are going to be many options out there, but I do think we have one young man that is coming in- Emery Simmons that will actually help us out in that regard. We’ll probably address some more. There are just some more needs, but I do agree we need to find some more depth to surround those guys like Devaughn and Money. I’m hopeful and confident we will be able to get it done.”

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, Instagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Breaking Down Utah Football’s 2023 Position Groups: Wide Receivers