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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Utah
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  06/22/21 - Mika TafuarSr/2022, Utah, 6-2, 250 (DS#56 DE) + More +

  In 2019, a four-man defensive front featured four seniors in helping that Utes defense finish No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 3 nationally in rushing defense at 81.8 yards per game. Those seniors, consensus All-America first-team defensive end Bradlee Anae, left tackle John Penisini and right tackle Leki Fotu, all left for the NFL, but not much changed. The lone holdover from that 2019 front, defensive end Maxs Tupai, combined with Mika Tafua at the other end spot and a combination of Hauati Pututau, Tennessee Pututau, and Viane Moala at the tackle spots as Utah finished the five-game, COVID-impacted 2020 season No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 nationally in rushing defense at 107.8 yards per game.

A two-time All-Pac-12 selection, Tafua is a lock to start at one defensive end spot, while Tupai is a safe bet at the other end spot. Tafua and Tupai have 66 career games and 37 starts between them. Tafua has started 13 consecutive games dating back to the 2019 season opposite Anae. The two inside spots might be up for some debate as camp looms. Tennessee Pututau is the projected left tackle after starting the final two games of 2020 as a true freshman. His cousin, Hauati, started the first three games of last season and has 42 career games under his belt. - Salt Lake Tribune


(DS#56 DE) rSr/2022 DE Mika TafuaUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune
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  06/19/21 - Devin LloydrSr/2022, Utah, 6-2, 232 (DS#2 ILB) + More +

  A lot is expected out of Utah senior linebacker Devin Lloyd this season, as one of the veteran leaders for the Utes' defense. His impact was recognized Thursday, as Lloyd was named a second-team preseason All-American by Walter Camp. Lloyd's experience will be vital for the young Utah defense in 2021 - he has 19 career starts over 33 games, and last year he led the Utes in total tackles (48) and tackles for loss (10), while adding two sacks, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry during the team's pandemic shortened five-game season. The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Lloyd earned a handful of honors following the 2020 season, highlighted by being named second-team All-American by Sporting News. He also earned Pac-12 all-conference first-team and Phil Steele All-America honorable mention honors, and was a finalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the nation's top linebacker. - Deseret News

(DS#2 ILB) rSr/2022 ILB Devin LloydUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  06/15/21 - Nick FordrSr/2022, Utah, 6-5, 315 (DS#5 OT) + More +

  University of Utah football head coach Kyle Whittingham has said on more than once occasion that he believes Nick Ford's NFL future is as an interior lineman, meaning either center, left guard, or right guard. Whittingham not offering a specific position along the offensive line, but rather multiple options, is apropos when discussing Ford, who has played them all since beginning his Utes career in 2018 as a redshirt freshman. In 30 career games, Ford has started 26 times including 13 times at right guard, six at left guard, four at center, two at right tackle, and once at left tackle.

Those four starts at center came in the final four games of the Utes' COVID-impacted five-game season in place of injured veteran center Orlando Umana. Ford's play at center yielded an All-Pac-12 first-team spot, followed by an NFL Draft decision. During spring practice, Ford told the media his NFL Draft grade came back as a third, maybe fourth-round pick, with a chance to improve his stock to as high as a second-round pick. With that knowledge, Ford decided to put off the NFL for a year, just as teammates Devin Lloyd and Brant Kuithe did. - Salt Lake Tribune


(DS#5 OT) rSr/2022 OT Nick FordUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune
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  06/03/21 - Brant KuitheSr/2022, Utah, 6-2, 230 (DS#23 TE) + More +

  No one would have batted an eyelash if Brant Kuithe opted to leave the University of Utah following the 2020 season. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end had a team-best 25 catches for 236 yards, while leading all Pac-12 tight ends in receptions per game (5.0). He has led the team in catches among tight ends in each of his three seasons, the last two of which have yielded All-Pac-12 second-team honors. In 33 career games, Kuithe has 79 catches for 1,065 yards and seven touchdowns. Kuithe has clearly been on an NFL track for at least the two seasons, so no, no one would have even shrugged if Kuithe opted against one more college season and instead entered the NFL draft. The thing is, a truncated, COVID-impacted, five-game season last fall was not enough for Kuithe to go out on, so he didn't. "I had a decent season, but we only won three games," Kuithe said during spring practice in early April, roughly three months after the Katy, Texas, native announced on New Year's Day that he would return for the 2021 season. "We haven't won a Pac-12 championship. That's most important goal. Every single year, we fall short of it. I came here to win that." - Salt Lake Tribune

(DS#23 TE) Sr/2022 TE Brant KuitheUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune
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  06/03/21 - Munir McClainJr/2023, Utah, 6-3, 210 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Utah has added another wide receiver through the transfer portal. Former USC wide receiver Munir McClain announced his commitment to Utah on Wednesday. McClain is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound redshirt sophomore that was a three-star recruit out of high school. He played as a true freshman, appearing in five games, catching three passes for 19 yards before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

McClain was suspended by USC for the 2020 season, but USC did not give an official reason for the suspension. According to the Los Angeles Times, McClain's mom, Shan, was told by Michael Blanton, USC's vice president of ethics and professionalism, that "a complaint was received about USC students being approached to file for EDD (unemployment benefits). An investigation was opened, and Munir's name had come up." - Deseret News


(DS#999 WR) Jr/2023 WR Munir McClainUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/22/21 - Theo HowardrSr/2022, Utah, 6-0, 182 (DS#74 WR) + More +

  Former Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Theo Howard, now of the Utah Utes, warms up before a game. On Wednesday night, new Utah Utes wide receivers coach Chad Bumphis sent what appeared to be a "bat signal" tweet that the program had just picked up a commitment. A short time later, Washington transfer safety Brandon McKinney announced his pledge to the program, but that may not have been the reason for Bumphis' tweet, as on Thursday afternoon, Utah announced it has signed Oklahoma Sooners transfer wide receiver Theo Howard. This marks the second time in Howard's career that he has transferred, as he began at UCLA before leaving for Oklahoma. A California native, the 6-foot, 182-pound Howard played in 34 games over four years at UCLA (he redshirted in 2019 after playing one game), tallying 119 receptions for 1,459 yards and nine touchdowns. In his lone season at Oklahoma in 2020, he finished with 13 receptions for 163 yards with no touchdowns. - Deseret News

(DS#74 WR) rSr/2022 WR Theo HowardUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/22/21 - Josh CalvertrSo/2024, Utah, 6-2, 218 (DS#3 ILB) + More +

  The most recent commit in a wave of them over the past few days, Calvert will arrive in Utah looking for a fresh start after tearing his ACL as a freshman at Washington in 2019 and then not playing at all in 2020. Coming out of high school as part of the class of 2019, he was ranked by 247 Sports as the 15th-best inside linebacker prospect in the country. With the Utes, he'll join his younger brother Ethan, another 4-star linebacker who signed earlier this year. - Deseret News

(DS#3 ILB) rSo/2024 ILB Josh CalvertUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/22/21 - Chris CurryrJr/2023, Utah, 5-11, 216 (DS#999 RB) + More +

  A January commit, Curry left LSU after tallying just 91 carries for 336 yards with no touchdowns over three seasons with the Tigers. Like Calvert, however, Curry was ranked by 247 Sports as the 15th-best prospect in the country at his position coming out of high school (class of 2018) and will be looking to get his career going at a place that has had to rebuild its running back room this offseason. - Deseret News

(DS#999 RB) rJr/2023 RB Chris CurryUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/21/21 - Brandon McKinneySr/2022, Utah, 6-0, 208 (DS#999 FS) + More +

  Utah's defense just got a little bit deeper and a little bit better. Former Washington safety Brandon McKinney announced Wednesday night in his Instagram Stories that he is transferring to the University of Utah. McKinney will be immediately eligible and is expected to contend for a starting job in the Utes' secondary. A senior, McKinney played in 44 games over four seasons at Washington - largely on special teams - and totaled 40 tackles - including a tackle for loss - a pass deflection and a forced fumble. This past season, he played in all four of the Huskies' games and tallied four tackles, three of which came in Washington's win over Arizona. - Deseret News

(DS#999 FS) Sr/2022 FS Brandon McKinneyUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/08/21 - Josh CalvertrSo/2024, Utah, 6-2, 218 (DS#3 ILB) + More +

  Washington's post-spring attrition is officially underway. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Josh Calvert has left the team, a spokesperson confirmed Friday. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is likely headed to the transfer portal, but he did not respond to an interview request on Friday afternoon. A former four-star recruit from Westlake Village, Calif., Calvert appeared primed to play as a true freshman in 2019, before a torn ACL in fall camp abruptly ended his season. The Oaks Christian High School alum did not appear in any of UW's four games last fall and worked primarily with the third- and fourth-team throughout practices in April. He seemed to be somewhat of an afterthought this spring, behind starters Edefuan Ulofoshio and Jackson Sirmon and fellow inside linebackers Alphonzo Tuputala, Daniel Heimuli, M.J. Tafisi, Miki Ah You and Drew Fowler. Four-star freshman Will Latu will also enroll in Seattle this summer. - Seattle Times

(DS#3 ILB) rSo/2024 ILB Josh CalvertUtah
News Source: Seattle Times
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  05/08/21 - Devaughn VelerSo/2024, Utah, 6-3, 205 (DS#51 WR) + More +

  Two Utah wide receivers who have taken different journeys will be counted on to produce for the Utes this season. And they'll try to help fill the void left by wideouts Bryan Thompson and Samson Nacua, who left the program last winter. Junior Jaylen Dixon entered the transfer portal in October 2020 but ended up withdrawing from the portal last February and returned to the Utes, something that had never been done before at the U. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Devaughn Vele has emerged this spring as a potential weapon, highlighted by his performance in the spring game, when he caught four passes for 66 yards and a touchdown.

"I have very high expectations for him," quarterback Charlie Brewer said of Vele. "I feel like he's a complete receiver. He has size and he can jump out of a gym and really go up and high-point the ball. He's a big-play receiver. I feel like he's going to have a huge fall." Vele, a 6-foot-4, 205-pounder from San Diego, has played in nine games in his career, including one start. He's recorded two receptions for 12 yards. "Devaughn Vele has been our secret weapon for a minute now. It sucks seeing Bryan and Samson moving on but we support them at the end of the day. They've got to do what they've got to do. We're brothers so we love each other for that," said wide receiver Solomon Enis. "But Vele's been ready, he's been consistent, he's been reliable. People can rely upon him a lot. I'm excited for this tandem, this duo, we have going...Vele's ready to go and he's capable." - Deseret News


(DS#51 WR) rSo/2024 WR Devaughn VeleUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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  05/05/21 - Munir McClainJr/2023, Utah, 6-3, 210 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Munir McClain, the USC receiver suspended last fall amid a federal inquiry into apparent unemployment fraud on campus, has re-entered the NCAA transfer portal, six months after opting to withdraw his name the first time. His decision to leave USC marks the messy end of a relationship that swiftly soured last fall, when federal agents first arrived on USC's campus asking questions about the sophomore receiver.

McClain was first suspended from USC's football team last September as he emerged as one focus of a federal probe into unemployment fraud. McClain told The Los Angeles Times last fall that he applied for and received pandemic unemployment assistance benefits last summer. By late October, federal agents were on USC's campus, questioning his USC teammates about McClain and whether they were approached about fraudulently filing for unemployment benefits. Some were given subpoenas to appear before a grand jury. - Los Angelese Times


(DS#999 WR) Jr/2023 WR Munir McClainUtah
News Source: Los Angelese Times
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  04/29/21 - Devaughn VelerSo/2024, Utah, 6-3, 205 (DS#51 WR) + More +

  In the days leading up to the April 17 spring game, Whittingham said positive things about Devaughn Vele, even going as far as to say the redshirt freshman had control of the fourth receiver spot as spring ball came to a close. At the spring game, Vele made Whittingham look smart, finishing with four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. A 40-yard second-quarter catch from Brewer was among the offensive highlights of the afternoon as Vele had to shake off a clear defensive pass interference penalty on Vonte Davis down the right sideline to finish the play. "The biggest thing I've been trying to learn is just how to do my job, understanding the offense," Vele said after the spring game. "We have a lot of playmakers on the offense, so I just want to add a little mix to it however I can. Spring was an opportunity for me and some other guys to find our place in what can be a really good team this fall." - Salt Lake Tribune

(DS#51 WR) rSo/2024 WR Devaughn VeleUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune
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  04/20/21 - Charlie BrewerSr/2022, Utah, 6-1, 210 (DS#13 QB) + More +

  Utah's 73-play effort on Saturday was no different, but the 6,500 present and the rest of the fans watching on Pac-12 Networks should be left thinking about two things. In the immediate aftermath of the 15th and final spring practice, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said he believes this incarnation of the Utes is "going to be a complete football team." Furthermore, he stayed with an ongoing spring storyline by heaping praise upon Charlie Brewer, and with good reason. Brewer, a graduate transfer from Baylor, looked in complete control Saturday, going 15 for 15 for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. It should be noted that the defense was not allowed to hit Brewer, so a handful of his dropbacks would have resulted in sacks during a real game, but no matter.

Saturday marked Brewer's unofficial public unveiling in a Utah uniform, and he did not disappoint. "Clean, just like he's been all spring," Whittingham said. "He's a quick decision-maker, he's accurate, he gets the ball out of his hands quickly, he does a good job protecting the football. What you saw today is what we've been seeing all spring long, so it's going to be a great battle between him and Cam [Rising] come fall camp for that No. 1 spot. Charlie has really done an outstanding job of integrating into our program." - Salt Lake Tribune


(DS#13 QB) Sr/2022 QB Charlie BrewerUtah
News Source: Salt Lake Tribune
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  04/17/21 - Nick FordrSr/2022, Utah, 6-5, 315 (DS#5 OT) + More +

  During his time at Utah, junior Nick Ford has played every position on the offensive line. He's started one game at left tackle, six at left guard, 13 at right guard, two at right tackle and four at center. This spring, Ford has become a fixture as the Utes' starting center. "Nick has an extremely high football IQ. He does a very good job of communicating up front," said offensive line coach Jim Harding. "We had a couple of younger players last year and he's a real calming presence on the sidelines. He came in and played a number of different positions. That's lent to the ability to know the calls and things like that. He's done a nice job executing the center-quarterback exchange. I think it's a natural fit for him." Ford is a two-time All-Pac-12 offensive lineman, having earned first-team honors in 2020. While he could have declared early for the NFL draft, he chose to return for another season at Utah.

When the season ended, Ford explored his options and received a draft evaluation. He was told he would likely be a third-round or fourth-round pick in the draft, with a chance to improve his stock to a second-round or third-round selection. After consulting with coaches, agents and his parents, Ford decided it was in his best interest to play another season of college football. "Just thinking about it over all, the main thing that every agent and coach said was I could leave now but if I come back, I could leave even better, which was a big factor in my decision as well as knowing how much talent was returning this year and the capability this team to not only win the Rose Bowl and the Pac-12 but this team reminds me of 2018-19 when we had everybody and we were able to make that run. I really think we can make that run again. So I just want to go out with another ring." - Deseret News


(DS#5 OT) rSr/2022 OT Nick FordUtah
News Source: Deseret News
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