Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with their families. —Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's football team has several ties to Houston, where historic flooding is ravaging the nation’s fourth-largest city in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Safety Corrion Ballard (Houston), return specialist Kyle Fulks (Katy), defensive back Nygel King (Tomball), running back Troy McCormick (Katy) and wide receiver Raelon Singleton (Crosby) are Utes from the greater Houston area.
“Our thoughts and prayers are obviously with their families,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham.
Former Ute quarterback and assistant coach Brian Johnson, who is now Houston’s offensive coordinator, has also been impacted by the storm.
“I saw a picture of Brian Johnson’s house the other day,” Whittingham said. “It’s bad. It’s bad and we’re hoping for the best.”
Johnson’s wife, Ashley, and the couple’s two children left ahead of the heavy rains and are staying at her parents' home in Utah. Ashley spoke with FOX 13 news about the situation, noting that she is keeping in touch with her neighbors in Houston. Messages from Texas include seeing alligators and snakes in the water, as well as the loss of power and warnings about tornadoes. Boats are sought for rescues.
“I just have a lot of panic and anxiety, not knowing what’s happening to our home and our friends, getting in touch with everybody and making sure everybody's safe,” Ashley told the station. “We know we made the right decision, but it is hard knowing there are people we love and care about (that) are still there and stuck.”
Brian and the Cougars are riding things out in Austin, meanwhile, practicing at the University of Texas.
“I’m assuming now that the water has entered our home,” Ashley continued. “I don’t know when we will be able to get in there."