SALT LAKE CITY — A medical decision on Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, who has yet to receive full clearance since being diagnosed with an intracranial artery injury late last season, is expected to be made about a month earlier than anticipated.
“It’s been moved up,” said Ute coach Kyle Whittingham. “We’re hoping by the end of June that we have a definite thumbs up.”
Whittingham, though, tempered his statement.
“I’m not a doctor,” he noted. “I’m just being very optimistic, hoping and expecting for the best.”
If completely cleared and healthy, Whittingham acknowledged that Wilson is the incumbent as the starting quarterback — despite missing the last three games of 2013. Backup Adam Schulz started in his place.
When camp opens in August, the pool of candidates will be even deeper with newcomers Kendal Thompson and Donovan Isom joining a mix that already includes Schulz and redshirt freshmen Conner Manning and Brandon Cox.
Thompson, a graduate transfer from Oklahoma, is expected to get a lot of reps initially to show what he can do. Isom will also get a look.
In a worst-case scenario without Wilson, though, Whittingham said a pecking order will have to be developed with the returnees. As of now, he said, there is no definitive depth chart in place between Manning, Cox and Schulz.
Whittingham acknowledged that all of the quarterbacks did good things in spring camp, but each also has things to work on.
THAT TIME OF THE YEAR: The Utes are in the midst of what they call their “summer player development program.” It started on Monday, June 2 and is expected to include everyone by June 19. They’re just waiting on some newcomers to arrive.
“They’re working hard,” Whittingham said. “The leadership has been outstanding so far.”
The summer program consists of eight weeks of training — four before and four after a week off for the Fourth of July holiday. That’s the schedule Utah opted for this year.
“We’re only a week into it, but so far so good,” Whittingham said.
The summer program also includes two hours of film study per week. NCAA rule changes allow the summer sessions to essentially run under the same parameters as winter conditioning, allowing for increased contact with coaches.
Whittingham said the No. 1 goal for the Utes is to get “bigger, stronger and faster.”
STILL ON THE MEND: Defensive end Moana Ofahengaue, a redshirt freshman who suffered a serious head injury in a motorized scooter accident in February, will not be able to participate this fall while recovering from his injuries. Whittingham said there’s hope he can rejoin the team next spring.
ROSTER SHUFFLE: There’s been a few personnel changes since the end of spring ball. Cornerback Hipolito Corporan, who made five tackles in 10 games last season, has transferred to Stephen F. Austin in Texas to be closer to his mother who has had some health issues. Running back Jarrell Oliver, who ran for 23 yards on four career carries with the Utes, plans to graduate this fall and transfer in January — being immediately eligible elsewhere with two years to play. Then there’s running back Lucky Radley, who plans to join San Diego State as a graduate transfer this summer.
Movement, as usual, has also taken place on the walk-on front.
“Walk-ons are a very valuable and vital part of our team,” Whittingham said. “We feel like we’ve had a very good walk-on program through the years and we’ll have a good group this fall.”