SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah running back Harvey Langi announced Saturday that he will interrupt his career with the Utes to serve a mission in Tampa, Fla., for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The 6-foot-1, 228-pound sophomore-to-be is scheduled to enter the Missionary Training Center in Provo on July 25.
Langi, a former All-American at Bingham High School, bounced back from a disappointing freshman season at Utah (70 yards rushing on 13 carries) with a solid showing this spring. Besides adding 10 pounds of muscle and maintaining his 4.5 speed in the 40, Langi was praised for overall improvement — especially with the blitz pick-up — and versatility.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham noted that Langi can not only run the ball but is capable of playing fullback and being a receiving threat out of the backfield. Whittingham envisioned Langi, who he called a "team guy," being in some two-back sets with returning starter John White IV and highly touted junior college transfer Kelvin York this fall.
"He's starting to play the way we envisioned he would when we recruited him out of high school," Whittingham said at the conclusion of spring ball. "The light switch is starting to come on for Harvey."
At Bingham, Langi led the Miners to consecutive state titles in 2009 and 2010. He finished his high school career with 4,289 yards rushing and 55 touchdowns.
Langi's two-year departure leaves the Utes with White, York, Jarrell Oliver and Lucky Radley competing for playing time at running back when camp opens in August.
"That's a position that's got a lot of depth," Whittingham said this spring. "But if we can't count on you to pick up the blitz we have a hard time putting you in the game."
Contributing: Dirk Facer