SALT LAKE CITY — Doug Elisaia, Utah’s director of football sports performance, is really looking forward to next Tuesday’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. He’s friends with West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. They were teammates at Iowa Wesleyan in the early 1990s.
“It’s awesome,” Elisaia said. “We’ve kept in touch over the years, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen him, just because he’s playing on the other side of the country. But it’ll be nice to hook up with him again.”
Elisaia added that he and Holgorsen have been texting one another since the bowl matchup was announced.
“But I’ll get a chance to sit down with him and talk, and it’ll be good to see him again,” Elisaia said.
EARLY SIGNINGS: Utah is expected to lock up seven to 10 players in the new early signing period that begins Wednesday.
Although Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was unable to discuss specifics because of NCAA rules, he did acknowledge that a quarterback will be in the mix.
“We hope so,” he said.
Highly touted quarterback Jack Tuttle of Mission Hills High School in California is expected to headline Utah’s signees.
INJURY UPDATE: Whittingham said that cornerback Jaylon Johnson had surgery for an undisclosed injury about a week ago and will not play in the bowl game. The true freshman played in 11 games this season with 25 tackles and one interception.
On the positive side of things, Whittingham said that starting quarterback Tyler Huntley is “100 percent” healthy. The sophomore missed last month’s finale against Colorado.
NO BATEMAN: Former Cottonwood High quarterback Cooper Bateman, a graduate transfer from Alabama, left the Utes at the end of the regular season.
Whittingham said it was not a surprise. Bateman let him know during the year that he would probably be done before a bowl game for different reasons.
“We were fortunate to have him in the program, and he was a great teammate,” Whittingham said.
Bateman did not see any action this season. Whittingham said that Drew Lisk will be the No. 3 quarterback in Dallas.
EXTRA POINTS: When told that the Pac-12 led the nation in targeting penalties with 30, Whittingham said “that doesn’t surprise me” and expressed the need for some uniformity with such calls. Junior safety Chase Hansen is still deciding whether to enter the NFL Draft. “I’m still trying to figure out what’s the best decision for me, the best decision for the team,” he said.