Utah Football 2024

I consider the bowl game tomorrow to be the start of the 2024 season. I took a look at the projected 2024 roster as it currently sits and I know there will be some subtractions and additions. Utah has 77 scholarship players. Of those, 21 are seniors and 17 are juniors. Due to covid, some from each class might have an additional year of eligibility. However, it is clear that Utah returns a veteran bunch. The Utes return 3 of 5 staring OL and 2 players who either started or played significant snaps due to injuries. The Utes return an All-Pac starting QB, an All-Pac TE and a deep RB group. For the offense to become formidable, they need some help at WR. On defense the Utes return the 2 deep at every position along the DL and at LB. They return one staring CB, picked up a highly rated transfer from Ga. Tech and have some young guys who played a significant number of snaps. The real question mark is safety. They will start 2 freshmen in the Vegas Bowl (Ritchie and Hall). They signed a JUCO and a freshman safety, but could really use a a couple of more guys.

I agree.

For the bowl, I think Ritchie is playing up to speed much better than earlier in the year, which helps. Hall looks formidable at SS, is a Texas kid so he’s likely solid in the fundamentals.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tao get snaps at FS, Snowden can play CB or NB, depending on offensive personnel. For that matter, Snowden dropped back as a S in Cover 2 a few times this year, so Scalley has some wrinkles to throw at NW’s QB.

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Don’t know that we can read into anything these days, but Ja’Quinden has a C on his uniform in the Utes uniform unveiling photos for the bowl game

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I was going to ask about JJ. I was reading projections that he was going to enter the portal, but have never seen or heard anything after that. The article in the D-news about who’s staying and who’s leaving, never mentioned him in either category. Good to see that he is going to play today and the C on his uniform is interesting.

Regardless of what happens after the game, JJ deserves the Captain designation.

That dude has been an absolute warrior. He put in more miles running off the field in pain than most people run all year… and then he nearly always comes back in.

I assume it’s been a high ankle sprain haunting him all year. Dude never fails to find a way to make an impact on the game, and the next game… and inevitably gets dinged up again.

(I haven’t seen anything like it since Chad Kauhaahaa was paired up with Nate Kia at DE, and one of Chad’s shoulders was chronically bad. He would come out with a limp shoulder, then go back in a play or two later… and this went on for the last half of that season.)

If JJ finishes up at Utah, I think they need to create an award in his name. The Ja’Quinden Jackson Best Teammate Award.

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Seriously. We tend to forget that he was recruited as a QB, and then moved to RB to help the team.

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Just read Broughton will play, as well, though he’s entered the portal ala Barnes.

JT deserves serious appreciation from Ute fans, for that. I hope he gets a pick.

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I wonder why he entered the portal?

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Don’t know, but here’s my best guesses:

  • he’s a solid CB, 4 year starter, really good athlete, Oklahoma 100M HS champ. What’s the NIL market for that kind of CB? There are teams that could a really good, plug-and-play corner like him. Experienced, athletic, really well coached in a complex, sophisticated defense.

  • ZVaughn getting mention as an NFL prospect, JT looking to separate himself elsewhere?

The NIL aspect makes all this crazy, Whitt mentioned having to re-recruit your own players as one of the competing priorities before this game.

Where does the NIL market land, not just with JT, but overall? (Rhetorical question, time to get dialed in for this game.)

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