Commentary: By roster and talent, Utah Utes loaded at quarterback

Published: Sunday, July 7 2013 2:54 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — As Deseret News columnist Brad Rock wrote, “Deep down, everyone wants to be quarterback. It just so happens that on Utah's football team in 2013, almost everyone is.”

In August, five scholarship quarterbacks will be in the program, with another a walk-on. Kyle Whittingham and the Utah coaching staff are smart to stack the position. Ever since co-offensive coordinator Brian Johnson led the Utes as a senior to a Sugar Bowl win in 2009, the Utes — much like Warner Bros.’ Superman franchise — haven’t been able to maintain a consistent starter for several years.

Attempts at liftoff haven’t been smooth. Of course, there’s the Jordan Wynn shoulder saga. Last year, Winchester, Calif., signal-caller Derrick Brown committed to Utah before changing to Washington. Top-rated prospect Michael Eubank of Corona, Calif., showed interest in Utah but is now at Arizona State, Rock reported.

Still, Whittingham said the Utes might have two quarterbacks in the “upper echelon” of the Pac-12 in projected starter Travis Wilson and Adam Schulz — and freshman Brandon Cox is actually listed as a co-backup with Schulz, according to the university’s athletics website.

While Utah athletics media relations was unwilling to check with Whittingham to confirm the assumption that Cox is in that same category, the Utes feel like it can look to the sky in hope with their quarterback circumstances. Logan Bateman is the walk-on, while two 2013 high school graduates will be in Salt Lake City next month.

Here's an in-depth analysis of each of Utah's five options at quarterback for the 2013 football season.

Rhett Wilkinson is a project manager for UtahPolicy.com and hails the true-blooded Aggies from Utah. He's the co-founder of USU student magazine Aggie BluePrint and a former intern for the Deseret News. @wilklogan | rwilkinson.utahpolicy@gmail.com

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East Salt Lake City, Utah

One problem last year was Wilson never got the reps in Spring/Fall camp, in particular with the first team. Considering Wynn was injury-prone Wilson should have have received more practice time with the starters last Fall.

I think by game 3 we'll know if Wilson is our QB for the future. The good thing this year is we finally have the much needed PAC-12 depth at QB.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

Two QB's in the PAC12 upper echelon? Anyone want to take that wager?

Orem, UT

Only two comments on this article? Oh yeah, all the Utes are over commenting on the BYU Offense article.
Well, this Cougar thinks Wilson will be a terrific QB...one who will help the Utes be much better than expected this year. If he stays healthy, the Utes will play in a bowl game. I hope they do. And, I really only want them to lose one game this season. :)

Highland, UT

"We have the best qb situation in the entire country" --- Kyle Whittingham 2006

We all know how accurate that was.



Ducky - "We have the best qb situation in the entire country" --- Kyle Whittingham 2006 -We all know how accurate that was. LOL!"

Brian Johnson was on that team, and even though the 2006 team wasnt great, Nick Saban in 2008 said that Johnson was the best QB they played against that year. That includes Heisman and NC winner Tim Tebow. So while the QB situation didn't pan out that year, it did pan out extremely well 2 years later. So if Utah makes a 4 game play-off in 2 years you wont see me complaining.

Bountiful, UT

Duckhunter -

"We will go undefeated and make a BCS bowl" - BYU "fans" before every season

We all know how accurate that is.

U 90
Corona, CA

@ Duckhunter "We have the best qb situation in the entire country" --- Kyle Whittingham 2006 - We all know how accurate that was. LOL!"

Again the Duck opens mouth and inserts foot. Below is a summary of Utah's 2006 QBs:

Brett Ratliff - NFL from 2007 to 2012. You remember him? He rushed for 129 yards and 1 TD in a win against BYU.... not to mention completing 17-32 for 240 yards and 4 passing TDs in that same game.

Brian Johnson - Sugar Bowl MVP

Tommy Grady - Recorded the greatest single season for a quarterback in AFL history. He set single season records for touchdown passes (142) and passing yards (5,863), while also tying a single game record with 12 touchdown passes against Cleveland

Frisco, TX

Thomas' assessment of himself makes Jake Heaps seem like a very humble guy.

Wilson has a lot of potential. I think he'll be a big improvement over the last two years. Don't worry - I like Taysom's potential a lot more.

Highland, UT

@u 90

It's worth repeating.

"We have the BEST qb situation in the ENTIRE COUNTRY" --- kyle whittingham 2006


I guess that arena league record pretty much proves whittingham correct, I mean there haven't been any other qb's that played in college in 2006 that have accomplished more than an arena league record.

Bountiful, UT

Is that a picture of Wilson talking to Steve Martin?

Highland, UT

Funny but just one year ago so many utah "fans" were preaching to BYU fans how BYU had far too many QB's on their roster because they had 5. Now of course since utah has 6, basically mediocre qb's, on their roster having that many qb's is a good thing. What an interesting change of opinion from the trailer park crowd.

Arlington, VA


"Nick Saban in 2008 said that Johnson was the best QB they played against that year. That includes Heisman and NC winner Tim Tebow."

Which of course explains why Tebow is still playing in the NFL and BJ never even made an NFL roster.

Fight On!
St George, Utah

The QB situation at Utah will continue to struggle for the next few years. I think both Travis Wilson and Brandon Cox have legitimate potential, but the offensive line will continue to struggle against the bigger, faster, and stronger defensive front sevens. Once the coaching staff can put together a solid and cohesive O-Line week after week, I think Utah will begin to surface in the PAC. Talent at the skill positions is definitely there, but is not great yet. Utah will continue to get the leftovers of USC, Stanford, Oregon, UCLA, and UW in recruiting until the Utes pull off a couple signature conference wins over ranked PAC-12 teams.

Utah will be hovering around .500 for the next 2 seasons with a tough schedule including all the best PAC-12 teams. But in 2016 and beyond I can see the Utes becoming relevant in the PAC-12.

Las Vegas, NV

Duckhunter: "Fangupo will be the first player taken out of the state of Utah in the 2012 NFL draft"

Where is Fangupo??

Go Utes!!

Bountiful, UT

We'll have to wait until the fall to see if Schulz and Wilson's amazing success in the Spring game was more about the inefficiencies of the secondary or about the talent level of the QB's improving. Or some of both.

Las Vegas, NV

CougfaninTX: You better hope that Taysom doesn't have the Jordan Wynn Syndrome. Wynn had all the upside in the world, but had no shoulder. Taysom has no knees. Tweeking his knee in the offseason playing softball is not a good sign. Wynn: a throwing QB with no shoulder. Taysom: a running QB with no knees? Maybe - but let's hope he stays healthy so that the holy war is at full strength!

Go Utes!!


"Nobody on Utah's offense would start at BYU" - Duckhunter, 2011

"just about every commitment BYU has this year are players that have committed to them over BCS schools." - Duckhunter, 2013

Salt Lake City, UT

6 QB's and not a one is a Rivals one star or better HS QB......the best Ute QB this year is in the Ute Conference!

Bountiful, UT

wow...this gets worse. Logan Bateman was ripping up the ute secondary for 53 yd TD's, the picture is becoming crystal clear. It's not that the ute QB's are good, it's that the secondary is horrid. This will be a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng season for utah.

U 90
Corona, CA


Let me spell it out for you very slowly. Utah's 2006 stable of QBs included a 5 year NFL player, a Sugar Bowl MVP that led his team to a #2 ranking and the AFL single season record holder for several passing categories. Whit wasn't too far off, maybe not best, but that's pretty decent talent.

By the way, what is your source for the 2006 quote? I'd be surprised if you can produce a reference to the alleged Whittingham quote.

Payson, UT

Utes are in a great position for next year. This year the goal is a bowl game and winning record against one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

Next year the goal will be winning the south division.

Quarterback is the most important position and the utes have done god to recruit both skill and character. I'm a little worried about Cox's comments, but trust the coaching staff that this represents his competiveness and not cougaresk bigheadedness.

U 90
Corona, CA

Duck, just like I thought.... you can't provide the source, because there is none. Now that's something for you to LOL about.

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

U 90:

I don't remember Whittingham's exact wording, but he DID call our QB situation the best in the country back in 2006.

BJ was injured late in the 4th-Qtr vs. New Mexico back in 2005, and was out for the remainder of the season. Ratliff made his first start in our season finale vs. our little brother down there in WACistan, and after beating them, went on to destroy Ga. Tech in the Emerald Bowl. As a result, Whittingham felt confident he would be a proven signal caller.

In addition to this proven signal caller, Utah picked up Tommy Grady upon his transfer from Oklahoma. Grady was a 6-6/220-lbs, 4-star blue chip QB recruit, ranked the #3 Pro-style QB in the 2003 recruiting class. Whittingham felt confident in HIS potential as well.

And lastly, Utah also had one additional QB, a highly touted transfer who backed up Drew Brees at Purdue, before transferring to the Utes. I can't remember who he was, but it might have been Breska. At any rate, we DID "appear" to have a lot of talent at that position back in '06.

Naval Vet
Philadelphia, PA

U 90 (cont):

Unfortunately, Grady and whats-his-name underperformed to expectations, as did 2nd-yr OC Andy Ludwig, and Ratliff's supporting cast was poor-to-mediocre. We've also had poor development at the QB spot before Meyer/Mullins arrived, and after they left until Norm Chow returned to the Hill. And we really only had him for one year.

Duckhunter is just bringing up some 7-yr old quote to deflect all that BCS-"Quest"-NC talk mendenmidmajor annually trots out. The '80s are 3 decades in the past now. It's so embarrassing to be an Indy-WACer these days.

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