Head coach Kyle Whittingham talks to reporters during a University of Utah football practice at the Eccles Football Center in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 26, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — With Utah coming off its first trip to the Pac-12 championship game and returning several key players on both sides of the ball, expectations are high for the Utes in 2019.

That is evident in Athlon Sports’ top 25 rankings released Monday, which projects where teams will finish at the end of the year.

Athlon Sports has the Utes at No. 13, one of three Pac-12 teams to make the rankings along with Oregon at No. 15 and Washington one spot above Utah at No. 12. Alabama is projected to finish the year No. 1, ahead of defending national champion Clemson at No. 2, Georgia at No. 3 and Michigan at No. 4.

Steve Lassan called the Utes “clearly the class of the Pac-12 South.”

“The next step for coach Kyle Whittingham's team is clear: Win the Pac-12 title and play in a New Year's Six bowl. Both goals are attainable for 2019,” he wrote.

The Utes kick off the season Aug. 29 at BYU. Utah doesn’t face Oregon in the regular season but will travel to Seattle to face Washington on Nov. 2. The Huskies beat the Utes 10-3 in last year’s Pac-12 title game.

Yoeli Childs on the pre-draft workout process

BYU forward’s Yoeli Childs was one of six players in Sacramento Monday participating in an NBA pre-draft workout for the Kings, and the Bingham High star met with the media.

“You’re so close to living the dream you’ve had your whole life. I really try not to take a single moment for granted. I really just feel blessed to be here,” Childs said, according to video from ABC 10.

Childs went through the pre-draft process last year before returning to BYU, which gave him valuable experience this year, he said. Childs averaged 21.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Cougars during the 2018-19 season.

Childs pointed toward adaptability as one key to success during the pre-draft process.

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“To be successful in this process, you have to be ready for anything. I think it’s all about adaptation and being ready for whatever gets thrown at you. I’m excited to take it step by step and get better every day,” he said.

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And finally …

First-year BYU basketball coach Mark Pope certainly took his shot at showing off for Lin Manuel Miranda, the genius behind the acclaimed Broadway musical “Hamilton,” during this video published on Twitter by BYUtv Sports.