SALT LAKE CITY — With fall camp upon us, Utah football will feature a number of new faces looking to make an impact this season. Although newcomers such as Jackson Barton, Devontae Booker and Jason Fanaika made strong impressions during spring football, here is a look at 10 players who are participating in their first action for the Utes this fall.
Dan Sorensen is the Editor in Chief of UteZone.com, part of the Rivals.com network. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and Basketball Writers Association of America. Dan can be reached at email@example.com.
Field was a surprise addition to the team when he committed last month. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound receiver took a year off of football after his senior year in high school, but received a scholarship offer after an impressive performance at one of Utah’s summer camps. There will be a number of new receivers fighting for reps this fall, and Field will be looking to make his case.
During his senior year at Destrehan (Louisiana) High School, Isom showed tremendous leadership ability while putting up outstanding numbers. He accounted for 39 total touchdowns, while throwing for only two interceptions as a senior. Given Utah’s depth at quarterback, it’s unlikely for Isom to see any playing time this season. However, there are many in the program that feel Isom is the future face of Utah football. Ute fans should track his progress with great interest.
Williams, a safety out of Southern California, has reportedly been among the most impressive freshmen in summer workouts. An extremely intelligent player with terrific instincts and outstanding athleticism, he has a legitimate chance to earn reps if he performs well during camp.
Hobbs is a tremendous talent at cornerback who has a chance to work his way into the rotation with a strong fall camp. Although he will need to adjust to the speed of FBS football, he has a strong track record playing against quality competition. He recorded nine interceptions on his way to being named a first team All-State selection in Louisiana as a senior. If he continues to show a knack for creating turnovers, he could see the field soon.
Young is an explosive receiver out of Florida who could be in the mix for early playing time with a strong camp performance. A former high school track star, he is one of the fastest players on the team. He’ll need a lights out performance to move ahead of the upperclassmen on the roster, but he is one of the few freshman offensive prospects with the chance to see immediate playing time.
A former high school All-American at Bingham, Lotulelei arrives on campus with high expectations. He has spent much of the past six months working out with older brother and former Ute All-American Star. Although Utah is extremely deep at defensive tackle, he has the chance to work his way into the rotation if he has a strong fall camp.
A hard-hitting strong safety out of Florida, Godfrey was one of the most high-profile recruits in the recruiting class of 2014. Depth at safety was one of the principal needs for last year’s recruiting class, and he will be in the mix to earn immediate playing time.
Clay was one of the top offensive threats in the JUCO ranks last season, averaging 184.8 all-purpose yards per game while scoring 16 touchdowns. He arrives on campus as one of the fastest receivers in the Pac-12, and coaches expect Clay to become an immediate contributor. Even if he doesn’t find his way into the two-deep at receiver in fall camp, Clay could still make a major impact as a returner on special teams in his only year of eligibility.
Carter has taken a long road before finally suiting up for the Utes. The former JUCO transfer had to sit out a year before being declared eligible, only to be forced to sit out of spring football with an ankle injury. This fall, he will finally be able to show some of the skills that caused so much buzz when he signed with the Utes. If he can be healthy and perform as expected, the Ute secondary should be much improved in 2014.
Thompson, a transfer from Oklahoma, has been a big target of speculation throughout the offseason. Although Travis Wilson enters fall camp as the starter, Thompson is expected to push him for the starting job. Thompson is a reportedly strong leader and an excellent running threat that was the frontrunner for the Oklahoma starting job last season before an injury cut his season short before it began.