Will Utah Pass More? Utes Looking To Maximize Wide Receiver Play In 2023
Aug 2, 2023, 2:41 PM | Updated: Aug 3, 2023, 11:58 am
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utes are primarily known as a tough, ram it down your throat type of football program which hasn’t always left room for the wide receivers to make plays. Will Utah pass more in 2023?
They certainly have tried to make moves to improve the position ahead of what is becoming an increasingly critical season. Could a mixture of vets in the room along with some transfer portal additions be the shot in the arm the Utes need to air it out more?
Utah’s tight end room also looks a little different with Dalton Kincaid moving on to the NFL. Does his absence open up some touches that the receivers can take advantage of? Let’s discuss.
Day 1 ‼️ pic.twitter.com/AUU5z8guBs
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) August 1, 2023
Thinking About Utah’s Last Group Of Productive Receivers
When it comes to talking about the Utah receiver room, it is easier to talk about standout individuals rather than an entire elite group.
Dres Anderson hit 1000 yards in 2013. Tim Patrick and Darren Carrington flirted with it till injuries slowed them down. Britain Covey could be counted on for exciting plays on offense and in the return game that constantly kept fans on their toes. For the most part, however, these guys were all on a bit of an island production-wise.
For an entire group of ballers at wide receiver for the Utes though? In my opinion you have to go back to 2008.
Brian Johnson threw the GW TD pass to Freddie Brown in the final seconds.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 6, 2020
Freddie Brown hauled in 77 catches for 900 yards while leading the Utes in touchdowns with seven. David Reed was good for 25 receptions for 427 yards and six touchdowns. Jereme Brooks accounted for 30 receptions for 331 yards and one touchdown. Bradon Godfrey added in 56 receptions for 556 yards and four touchdowns.
You get the point.
The question is, does Utah have four guys (plus or minus one) in 2023 that can all put up those kinds of numbers in step with whatever the tight end group continues to do, and of course a deep running back corps?
The 2023 Utah Wide Receivers
Utah’s wide receivers are being led by a new face with a proven track record of getting the most out of his guys in Alvis Whitted. Whitted for his part, recognizes Utah’s history and is ready to help add his stamp to the brand.
“I’m ready to go, I love it here,” Whitted said. “This is a great place. Obviously, the program speaks volumes about what they have done in the past and I’m just excited to be here. Hopefully I can continue to help out in that regard. That’s what I’m here for.”
The Utes’ Big Transfer Portal Win?
One of the biggest wins for the Utes this offseason was bringing in former Oregon and Florida State wide receiver Mycah Pittman. Pittman, of course, comes from a deep NFL pedigree, and brings with him a skill set that Utah has lacked in years past.
“He’s got quite a bit in the tank,” Whitted said. “He’s a really good football player. Obviously, I don’t know if many know, but the pedigree he comes from- super talented. I think he’s going to be a tremendous asset for us in a lot of regards. As far as what he brings- he brings a toughness to the game and a skill set of play-strength. He’s such a natural athlete. I think he’s going to be tremendous for us and I’m really excited to work with him.”
Life’s a gamble and I’m all about my poker chips pic.twitter.com/iJeIc94EMs
— MJP (@MycahPittman) May 7, 2023
Devaughn Vele’s Leadership Growth
Devaughn Vele has been with the Utes forever it seems like. The super senior started his career as a walk-on, fought his way to a scholarship, and has continually improved each year production-wise while also battling some injuries. The next step in his progression that could really help the Utes in the throw game? Getting more comfortable as a leader.
“I think he’s done it in his own way,” Whitted said of Vele’s growth as a leader. “We’ve had conversations at the end of spring and one of my talks with him was him leading his way. I don’t want to tell him how to lead, but it’s his room as well. I think he has his own way of connecting with our players- our room ad I trust him to do that. I know he will do a great job. He does a great job leading by example- the way he works. He’s an intentional person.”
Utah Receivers Make Money Moves
Utah has a couple of guys who have been in the program for a while and shown some flashes, but maybe haven’t quite put it all together yet. Money Parks happens to be one of them, and early on Whitted is very high on the improvements he’s seen the promising receiver make.
MONEY PARKS!!!!! 👀 @MonterrenParks
— Utah Athletics (@utahathletics) December 3, 2022
“This camp is what it is all about,” Whitted said. “It’s their opportunity to embrace and take the reps that they get and the opportunities they get and maximize them to the best of their ability. Really see where it goes from there. I love what Money has done. I think he’s probably had the best offseason for a lot of our guys. He’s gotten faster, stronger and he’s studied. I’m super excited for him.”
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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