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The Lowdown: 2020 Offensive Line & Tight Ends

Oct 27, 2020

Throughout fall camp, UtahUtes.com will feature "The Lowdown" on each position group on the field.

THE LOWDOWN: TIGHT ENDS
The Utes return two of the best tight ends in the Pac-12, who have combined for 34 starts, 1,175 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns in just two seasons.

HEADLINERS RETURNING
Tight end tandem Cole Fotheringham and Brant Kuithe return for their junior campaigns in 2020 after breakout sophomore seasons. Kuithe earned All-Pac-12 second-team honors and PFF All-America third-team after exploding for 602 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns, 102 rushing yards and three rushing scores for nine total touchdowns. Fotheringham started all 14 games in 2019, recording 156 receiving yards on 16 catches with one touchdown.
 

TIGHT END PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART

TE Athlete GP/GS
89 Cole Fotheringham (6-4, 245, Jr.)  OR 28/23
80 Brant Kuithe (6-2, 230, Jr.) 28/11
40 Ali'i Niumatalolo (6-2, 230, Sr.) 32/0

COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM SAYS
"The tight end position should once again have big play capability and toughness with returning starters and proven commodities Cole Fotheringham and Brant Kuithe. There is plenty of depth behind them as well which will allow us to use multiple tight end sets. This position is one that is featured heavily in Coach Ludwig's system and Cole and Brant give us the ability to use them in many different ways."

THE LOWDOWN: OFFENSIVE LINE
While the Utes lost a four-year starter at the tackle position, they return four of their five starters for the 2020 season. The lineup includes two sophomores, a junior and a senior center with a handful of newcomers and redshirts eager to make an impact.

HEADLINERS RETURNING
Senior center Orlando Umana and junior guard Nick Ford anchor the 2020 offensive line with 46 starts between them, both earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention in 2019. Braeden Daniels and Simi Moala join Umana and Ford as returning starters after combining for 26 starts last season as redshirt freshmen, with Moala also getting an All-Pac-12 honorable mention nod.
 

OFFENSIVE LINE PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART

LT Athlete GP/GS
55 Nick Ford (6-5, 315, Jr.) 25/21
72 Luke Felix-Fualalo (6-7, 311, R-Fr.) 1/0
94 Falcon Kaumatule (6-7, 294, R-Fr.) 1/0
LG Athlete GP/GS
71 Braeden Daniels (6-4, 310, So.) 16/14
51 Keaton Bills (6-4, 313, R-Fr.) 3/0
C Athlete GP/GS
50 Orlando Umana (6-4, 311, Sr.) 39/25
54 Paul Maile (6-2, 300, So.) 10/0
RG Athlete GP/GS
53 Johnny Maea (6-4, 310, So.) 9/1
78 Sataoa Laumea (6-4, 305, R-Fr.) 1/0
RT Athlete GP/GS
69 Simi Moala (6-7, 312, So.) 14/12
77 Bamidele Olaseni (6-7, 335, Sr.) 2/1

COACH KYLE WHITTINGHAM SAYS
"This is a unit that we expect to be one of the strong suits of our team, and one that is going to have to take another step forward if we're going to become the type of offense we envision. We have significant starting experience returning in Nick Ford, Orlando Umana, Simi Moala and Braeden Daniels and should have competition at every position from an extremely deep and talented group that gained experience either in reserve duty or as redshirts in 2019. The O-line will be counted on to be a stabilizing force for our offense."

QUICK HITS ON SELECT TIGHT ENDS AND OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

71 :: Braeden Daniels :: Offensive Line :: Carrollton, Texas
Started all 14 games as a redshirt freshman in 2019, the first freshman to start every game on the offensive line in the Kyle Whittingham era … played in two games his redshirt season in 2018, playing 10 snaps against Weber State … first-team all-district out of Hebron HS.

55 :: Nick Ford :: Offensive Line :: San Pedro, Calif.
Has played guard, tackle and center during his career at Utah … 25 career games with 21 starts … earned Pac-12 honorable mention in 2019 after starting all 14 games including 13 at right guard … started in seven games in 2018 (six at left guard, 1 at right tackle), also seeing time at center against Washington State for 36 snaps … Defensive Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior at San Pedro HS.
 

89 :: Cole Fotheringham :: Tight End :: San Clemente, Calif.
Has started in 23 of the 28 games he has played in during his time at Utah … started in all 14 games in 2019, recording 16 catches for 156 yards and one touchdown, also serving an integral role in Utah leading the league in rushing yards per game … 17 receptions for 190 yards and two scores in 2018 as a true freshman, recording a career-high 76 yards against Oregon (5 catches) with a career-long 40-yard catch … scored a TD on his first career reception against Weber State in 2018.

86 :: Dalton Kincaid :: Tight End :: Las Vegas, Nev.
Joined the Utes in fall camp after transferring from the University of San Diego … hoping to be eligible for the 2020 season after an outstanding preseason camp … AP and Hero Sports All-American in 2019 for San Diego after recording 44 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns … led all FCS tight ends in yards per catch (18.98), ranking second among FCS tight ends in receiving yards and receiving yards per game (69.6) in 2019.

80 :: Brant Kuithe :: Tight End :: Katy, Texas
Utah's leading tight end in receptions two years in a row, leading the Utes in receiving yards in 2019 (602) … Pac-12 all-conference second-team and Pro Football Focus All-America third-team in 2019 after leading the team in receptions (34), yards (602) and receiving touchdowns (6) … showed his versatility out of the backfield as well in 2019, rushing six times for 102 yards (17.0 ypc) and three rushing touchdowns … ranked second among FBS tight ends in 2019 in yards per reception (17.71) … career-high 132 yards on five catches and a career-long 69-yard touchdown against UCLA.
 

68 :: Jaren Kump :: Offensive Line :: Riverton, Utah
Turned heads in his first fall camp in 2020 as a true freshman after returning from his church mission … first-team all-state and two-time all-region selection out of Herriman HS … rated the No. 9 recruit in the state of Utah in 2017 … averaged five pancake blocks a game as a senior … won the state championship in the shot put and discus.

69 :: Simi Moala :: Offensive Line :: Inglewood, Calif.
Started 12 games and played in all 14 in 2019 as a redshirt freshman … switched from the defensive to the offensive line in 2018 … originally signed with Oregon State out of high school in 2015 before leaving on his church mission … was the 91st-ranked defensive end in the nation in 2015 by Scout out of Cathedral HS … racked up 117 career tackles including 50 tackles for loss and 13 sacks in high school.

50 :: Orlando Umana :: Offensive Line :: Sacramento, Calif.
Enters the 2020 season with the most game experience on the offensive line, seeing action in 39 games with 25 starts (21 at center, 4 at left guard) … earned Pac-12 honorable mention in 2019 after starting 12 games at center … was key in Utah ranking first in the Pac-12 in rushing offense in 2019, also developing a consistency with the Ute quarterback group over the years … also started in 13 games in 2018, starting nine at center and four at left guard while finishing third on the team in total snaps.