Commentary: Utah may have come upon a famine of defensive backs

Published: Sunday, Aug. 4 2013 2:48 p.m. MDT

Key reserves: Charles Henderson, Quade Chappuis, Reginald Porter, Davion Orphey Next List » 4 of 4 « Prev
Henderson (5-9, 185) may yet be in the mix at strong safety, pushing Carter and Morris-Edwards. The New Orleans native has played in 16 games his first two years but is best remembered as a Ute for his muffed punt return catch attempt last season late in the third quarter at Washington. It helped lead to a blowout defeat and put the struggle for Utah’s bowl eligibility on the brink.

Chappuis (5-11, 200) went from a walk-on to starting the first three games of last season in Blechen’s place, who was suspended for possession of marijuana. However, the strong safety, an Alpine native, hasn’t climbed the depth chart since. That partially may be because he missed much of the second half of last season and spring ball recovering from a concussion suffered against USC, when he got hit on the side of his head, right behind his ear. His absence since then has resulted from passing cognitive exams but initially not being able to run without concussion symptoms returning.

He related to those mourning the loss of teammate Gaius Vaenuku, posting on his Twitter account on July 30 that “there is nothing harder than losing a family member.” He’s now listed at free safety before starting at strong safety last season.

Porter (5-11, 190) joins Henderson as another Louisiana native on the defensive backfield two-deep. He showed much potential in the spring after redshirting last season. That shouldn’t be a surprise: he earned first-team 3A all-state honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association for leading a defense that allowed fewer than six points per game. He also earned district MVP honors as a quarterback in 2011.

As friend Jasmin Florez tweeted, “Just when I thought @DavionOrphey vanished… turns out he’s in Utah. #utes #congrats #the dream.” Orphey was set for the Football Bowl Subdivision lights in committing to BYU. But then he took a detour instead to Santa Ana College for two years before committing to the Utes, who initially competed with the Cougars for his services. Orphey (6-0, 187) was a second-team all-conference selection in 2011 (all-purpose) and 2012 (defense, safety). His Dons won the 2012 Southern California Bowl.

Whittingham has described Porter and Orphey, along with Thomas, as “gifted athletes.”

True freshman Hipolito Corporan (Westside High in Houston) should also push the group.
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South Jordan, UT

Refreshing news!

Go Cougars!

Hailstorm is a coming
Riverdale, UT

Doesn't look good as the Pac-12 QB's will be delighted to throw over the top of these D-Backs.
One point that really frosts my cookies is that Morgan Scalley-- recruiting coordinator has yet to recruit a decent place kicker. Sakoda won a lot of games for us with his toe and asking a walk on to do the most pressurized job just doesn't cut it for me.
We need a quality special team place kicker EVERY SEASON !

Payson, UT

Blechen is a beast and can't wait to see him on the field in a few weeks.

The story about Chappuis is pretty sad, this kid was going to be great. Hope he can fully recover.

salt lake city, UT

Does this make it 4 years in a row now that they've move Brian Blechen to Linebacker? I give it 2 games until they move him back again.

Bountiful, UT

"Does this make it 4 years in a row now that they've move Brian Blechen to Linebacker? I give it 2 games until they move him back again."

How many games until he falls apart like last year? He was an NFL talent that is slowly killing his prospects through not excelling at either position (critics call him a tweener), getting moved back and forth, having off the field issues, etc. It would be sad if he blows it completely.

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