SALT LAKE CITY — Chayden Johnston joined the University of Utah football program after a standout kicking career at Bingham High School, but now he'll be leaving the Utes after attempting just one kick in a college game.
Johnston on Thursday announced via social media that he has decided to retire from football to focus on pursuing his career.
The 6-foot-1, 160-pound Johnston was considered one of the better prospects in the country at kicker when he signed with Utah in 2015. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he won the starting job in 2017 but missed his first attempt in the season opener.
That opened the door for Matt Gay to take over, and Gay wound up winning the 2017 Lou Groza Award, given to the nation's best kicker. Gay then had another excellent season in 2018, with Johnston compiling no statistics.
Johnston's departure leaves a significant void in a special teams unit that is perennially among the nation's best, as walk-on freshman Jadon Redding is now the only kicker on the Ute roster.
Freshman Ben Lennon of Australia will be assuming the punting duties.