SALT LAKE CITY — Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley's health isn’t a concern as the Utes prepare to face West Virginia in the Heart of Dallas Bowl next Tuesday.
The sophomore, who didn’t play in last month’s regular-season finale against Colorado because of an undisclosed injury, is back in the lineup.
“I’m 100 percent,” Huntley said. “I’m ready to go.”
Huntley saw action in last year’s Foster Farms Bowl but he’s now poised to make his first bowl game start.
“It’s going to be amazing to go down to Dallas and just get us a win,” Huntley said. “It’s going to be amazing to get a vacation before a vacation.”
Huntley then made it clear how he’s feeling.
“I’d say this is as healthy as I’ve been since week four,” he said.
LONE STAR STATERS: The Utes have three starters from Texas — free safety Corrion Ballard (Houston), wide receiver Raelon Singleton (Crosby) and left guard Salesi Uhatafe (Euless) — and 11 players overall from the Lone Star State.
Uhatafe, a senior, earned All-Pac-12 honors this season and served as a team captain.
“He was the unquestioned leader of the offensive line and did a great job filling that role,” Whittingham said. “I believe he’s got more football ahead of him.”
MIDDLE MEN: Graduating seniors Lowell Lotulelei and Filipo Mokofisi have been a force on the interior defensive line for the Utes.
“Those two guys have been great in a lot of different respects,” Whittingham said. “Not only in their play but with their leadership, just a great example for the younger players. They’ve both played a ton of really good football for us.”
Although Utah has a lot of good young defensive tackles in the program, Whittingham acknowledged that Lotulelei and Mokofisi leave some big shoes to fill and will be tough to replace.Comment on this story
KEEPING TRACK: Coaching changes at three of Utah’s Pac-12 opponents (Arizona State, Oregon and UCLA have the Utes monitoring the situations.
“We pay attention in the respect that it impacts recruiting. That’s the biggest thing that we’re concerned with is recruiting,” Whittingham said. “Then you’re obviously also projecting what kind of offense or defense are they going to run and trying to just mentally prepare. Is it another spread? Is it a pro-style offense? That type of thing.”