2022 Utah Football Season Outlook
SALT LAKE CITY – With Pac-12 Football Media Days and fall camp right around the corner, the University of Utah Football program is gearing up for the 2022 season with a mix of seasoned veterans and talented youth ready to hit the field.
The Utes enter the 2022 season with 60 letter winners returning, which includes 17 starters and nine all-conference performers from 2021. Head coach Kyle Whittingham is set to enter his 18th season as the all-time wins leader at Utah, holding a record of 144-70.
Utah is coming off a historic season in 2021 where the Utes won nine of its final 11 games, coming away with the program's first-ever Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance. Utah finished the year ranked No. 11 in the final CFP Poll, tying for its highest season finish in program history after going 8-1 in conference play.
To get an inside look at the Utah Football program, follow the Utes on social media (Twitter: @Utah_Football | Instagram: @UtahFootball | Facebook: Search Utah Football), along with visiting www.UtahUtes.com for news, schedule and roster updates throughout the season.
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With the season starting in less than 50 days, a limited number of season tickets are still available with multiple pricing options provided. To purchase season tickets, visit www.UtahTickets.com or for more information, call or text the Utah Ticket Office at 801-581-8849. Fans wanting to learn more about season tickets or to join as a Utah Football Insider, click here.
Below, fans can read through a position breakdown on the 2022 Utes with direct insight from Whittingham on returning lettermen and select newcomers.
The 2022 Utah quarterback room is comprised of four-star recruits, dual threat student-athletes, veteran locals and a returning starter that leads the group through his infectious calm, cool and collected attitude. Andy Ludwig, Utah's quarterback coach and offensive coordinator, enters his fourth year in his second stint with the Utes after also coaching at Utah from 2005-08.
|Bryson Barnes | 6-1, 204, So. | Milford, Utah||2-for-2 passing for 23 yards and a TD vs. Ohio State in the Rose Bowl|
|Ja'Quinden Jackson | 6-2, 225, R-Fr. | Dallas, Texas||4 rushes for 21 yards and a two-yard TD vs. Washington State|
|Cameron Rising | 6-2, 220, Jr. | Ventura, Calif.||2022 Maxwell Award Watch List, 2021 All-Pac-12 1st Team|
|Luke Bottari | 5-10, 198, Jr. | San Mateo, Calif.||Career passing TD record holder at College of San Mateo (46)|
|Nate Johnson | 6-1, 195, Fr. | Clovis, Calif.||4-Star out of Clovis HS, TRAC Player of the Year|
|Brandon Rose | 6-2, 208, Fr. | Temecula, Calif.||7,521 career passing yards, 74 TDs at Murrieta Valley HS|
"We are extremely confident in our quarterback situation heading into the 2022 season as we have been able to continue to develop depth and add talent to this position group. Cameron Rising is our starter, and will guide the offense with his tremendous leadership abilities, confidence and swagger that he brings to the field each day. Bryson Barnes and Ja'Quinden Jackson both had solid spring practices, and we are anxious to see how newcomers Brandon Rose and Nate Johnson develop alongside our returners this fall."
After only allowing 0.93 sacks per game in 2021, which ranked fourth nationally, the Utah offensive line room will return six student-athletes who started at least three games last year, including Braeden Daniels and Sataoa Laumea who started all 14 games.
|Keaton Bills | 6-4, 318, So. | Draper, Utah||16 career games played, 12 started at left guard|
|Braeden Daniels | 6-4, 299, Jr. | Carrollton, Texas||36 career games played, 29 starts (18 at LG, 11 at RT), All-Pac-12 2nd Team in 2021|
|Alex Harrison | 6-4, 324, So. | Bountiful, Utah||2 career games played in 2021, No. 4 recruit in Utah out of HS|
|Falcon Kaumatule | 6-8, 298, So. | Last Vegas, Nev.||11 career games played including 10 in 2021|
|Jaren Kump | 6-5, 309, So. | Riverton, Utah||9 career games played, all starts (6 at RT, 3 at LT)|
|Sataoa Laumea | 6-4, 312, So. | Rialto, Calif.||19 career games played with 18 starts (all at RG), two-time All-Pac-12|
|Johnny Maea | 6-4, 311, Jr. | Salt Lake City, Utah||17 career games played with one start|
|Paul Maile | 6-2, 304, Jr. | Salt Lake City, Utah||17 career games played with four starts (1 at RG, 3 at Center)|
|Michael Mokofisi | 6-4, 316, R-Fr. | Woods Cross, Utah||4 career games played after ranking as the No. 11 recruit in Utah out of HS in 2020|
|Tanoa Togiai | 6-6, 310, R-Fr. | Rigby, Idaho||3 career games played after ranking as the No. 3 recruit in Utah out of HS in 2019|
|Zereoue Williams | 6-8, 292, R-Fr. | Phoenix, Ariz.||2 career games played as a three-star recruit out of HS in 2020|
|Tyler Knaak | 6-7, 319, Fr. | Cottonwood Heights, Utah||3-star recruit, rated the No. 17 prospect in Utah out of HS|
|Keith Olson | 6-6, 295, Fr. | Napavine, Wash.||3-star recruit, rated the No. 20 prospect in Washington out of HS|
"Entering fall camp we will be looking to fill the voids from losing our starting center and left tackle to the NFL, but we expect no drop off as we have good young talent and depth at the offensive line position due to our recruiting efforts. We are ready to see returning starters Braeden Daniels, Keaton Bills and Sataoa Laumea step into leadership roles with starting tackle Jaren Kump also returning from injury this fall to round out a physical and talented offensive line."
The Utes rushed for 3,035 yards and 37 touchdowns last season with 54-percent of the production returning in 2022 from an All-Pac-12 first-team selection Tavion Thomas and a versatile back that can play in any position – but prefers to be called a running back in Micah Bernard. Add in a four-star recruit from Florida in Jaylon Glover and the Utah running back group is primed to continue the tradition of defining the word physicality.
|Micah Bernard | 6-0, 192, So. | Long Beach, Calif.||23 career games played with six starts, recording 774 all-purpose yards in 2021|
|Chris Curry | 5-11, 217, Jr. | Fort Myers, Fla.||36 career games played in Power Five football, won the CFP with LSU in 2019|
|Tavion Thomas | 6-2, 238, Jr. | Dayton, Ohio||All-Pac-12 1st Team in 2021, recording 1,108 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns|
|Charlie Vincent | 5-10, 201, So. | Salt Lake City, Utah||13 career games played, earned a scholarship in 2020 after walking on in 2019|
|Jaylon Glover | 5-7, 211, Fr. | Lakeland, Fla.||4-star recruit, recorded 6,096 rushing yards and 80 TDs in HS|
"We have had a tradition of producing extremely physical running backs, and this year will be no different with new running backs coach Quinton Ganther taking the reins. Tavion Thomas is primed for a big year after his record-breaking 2021 season and we are eager to see what he can accomplish this fall. With Micah Bernard's vast skill set and the addition of Jaylon Glover this spring, we will have a versatile and powerful one-two punch behind Tavion that will give our offense the ability to be diverse."
One of the most balanced and diverse groups for the Utes in 2022, the wide receiver group brings a talented and lengthy group of wideouts to the field this season. The group is led by seniors Solomon Enis and Jaylen Dixon that are complimented by the big play attitude of returner Devaughn Vele to fill out a versatile group that gives the Utes weapons all over the field.
|Makai Cope | 6-3, 199, R-Fr. | Culver City, Calif.||2 career games played, 3-star recruit out of HS|
|Jaylen Dixon | 5-9, 165, Sr. | Frisco, Texas||38 career games played with nine starts|
|Solomon Enis | 6-3, 208, Sr. | Phoenix, Ariz.||44 career games played with 14 starts|
|Money Parks | 5-10, 170, So. | Aledo, Texas||12 games played in 2021, scoring his first collegiate TD vs. USC|
|Devaughn Vele | 6-5, 204, So. | San Diego, Calif.||19 career games played with 7 starts, averaged 16.9 ypc in 2021|
|Luca Caldarella | 6-4, 200, So. | Cerritos, Calif.||35 catches for 482 yards (7 TDs) in 2021 at Cerritos College|
|Tiquan Gilmore | 5-11, 180, Jr. | Los Angeles, Calif.||CCCFCA All-America in 2021 at College of the Canyons, rated No. 7 JUCO WR|
|Tao Johnson | 6-1, 179, Fr. | Idaho Falls, Idaho||Rated No. 2 prospect in Idaho out of HS|
|Sidney Mbanasor | 6-5, 206, Fr. | Pflugerville, Texas||All-District and 3-star recruit out of HS|
|Chris Reed | 6-1, 188, Fr. | Orlando, Fla.||3-star recruit named No. 13 wideout in Florida out of HS|
"We need our receiver group to step up and develop a big play mentality this fall. Devaughn Vele is coming off a strong 2021 season with Solomon Enis coming into fall camp healthy, giving us two big weapons with their athleticism and length. We are also hoping to utilize Money Parks' and Jaylen Dixon's speed more this year to stretch the opposing defense's, giving us many options for production in the position group."
The tight end tandem that is Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid is unmatched nationally after the Utes finished the 2021 season as the only Pac-12 team with two active tight ends with over 1,000 career receiving yards. They will be joined this season by a pair of athletic transfers that look to add even more depth to a group that has earned the name "Tight End U".
|Dalton Kincaid | 6-4, 242, Sr. | Las Vegas, Nev.||43 career games in DI football, earned All-Pac-12 in 2021|
|Brant Kuithe | 6-2, 222, Sr. | Katy, Texas||3-time All-Pac-12 selection with 129 career receptions and 1,670 yards|
|Munir McClain | 6-4, 226, R-So. | Atlanta, Ga.||Transitioned from WR to TE in 2022 spring camp|
|Thomas Yassmin | 6-5, 248, Jr. | Sydney, Australia||Had never played the sport of football until he came to Utah|
|Logan Kendall | 6-3, 273, Jr. | Cheney, Wash.||32 career games played with 16 starts at Idaho, 2-time All-Big Sky selection|
|Landon Morris | 6-5, 233, Fr. | Indianapolis, Ind.||3-star recruit with 81 career catches for 1,456 yards and 13 TDs in HS|
"The tight end position continues to be a strong suit for us as we feel we have one of the most talented groups in the country, truly giving the name 'Tight End U' its definition here at Utah. The blocking ability of returners Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe adds to our physicality in the run game and their speed and versatility when running routes will continue to give us an edge as an offense. We are anticipating Thomas Yassmin and Munir McClain, who both had strong spring camps, and newcomer Landon Morris, will contribute and live up to the tradition that has been created here."
In what has been a position known for its physicality and production of NFL talent each year, the Utah defensive line room will continue to look up to that tradition this season with a new crop of talent. With Junior Tafuna coming off a Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year campaign in 2021 to anchor the inside, the Utes will have a versatile group of edge rushers to complement the defensive line attack in 2022.
|Jonah Elliss, DE | 6-2, 240, So. | Moscow, Idaho||14 career games played, moving from LB to DE in the spring of 2022|
|Van Fillinger, DE | 6-4, 250, So. | Draper, Utah||19 career games played with 13 starts in 2021|
|Connor O'Toole, DE | 6-4, 210, So. | Albuquerque, N.M.||Transitioned from WR to DE in the spring of 2022|
|Miki Suguturaga, DE | 6-4, 265, So. | Kaneohe, Hawaii||11 career games played, first collegiate sack vs. Stanford in 2021|
|Devin Kaufusi, DT | 6-7, 288, Sr. | Provo, Utah||44 career games played in DI football, blocked a FG in 2021 vs. ASU|
|Simote Pepa, DT | 6-3, 354, R-Fr. | South Jordan, Utah||4 career games played, No. 6 player in Utah out of HS|
|Fua Pututau, DT | 6-1, 297, Jr. | Salt Lake City, Utah||4 career games played, No. 9 player in the state of Utah out of HS|
|Tennessee Pututau, DT | 6-2, 280, So. | West Valley City, Utah||14 career games played, 4-star recruit out of HS|
|Junior Tafuna, DT | 6-3, 297, So. | Taylorsville, Utah||2021 Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year|
|Aliki Vimahi, DT | 6-4, 304, So. | Kahuku, Hawaii||10 career games played, starting 2 in 2021|
|Ka'eo Akana, DE | 6-3, 217, Fr. | Honolulu, Hawaii||3-star recruit, rated the No. 2 player in Hawaii out of HS|
|Chase Kennedy, DE | 6-3, 224, Fr. | Dallas, Texas||3-star recruit, played edge rusher and running back in HS|
|Gabe Reid, DE | 6-2, 236, Sr. | American Fork, Utah||42 career games with 24 starts at Stanford from 2018-21|
|Keanu Tanuvasa, DT | 6-3, 268, Fr. | Mission Viejo, Calif.||3-star recruit, signed with Utah in 2019 before church mission|
"Our next man up mentality here at Utah always seems to apply to our defensive line with the talent we continue to bring into the program. We are looking forward to seeing a young and talented group of linemen step into leadership roles this season. Junior Tafuna had an outstanding freshman season in 2021 and will look to anchor the inside while Van Fillinger continues to develop and solidify himself as an edge rusher to watch for this year. Both Jonah Elliss' and Connor O'Tooles' transition to defensive end has proven to be solid moves for us and we are eager to see how it all lines up this fall."
After sending starting linebacker Devin Lloyd to the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Utah linebackers room continues to grow in strength and numbers. While replacing two longtime starters will be challenging, transfer Mohamoud Diabate and returning starter Karene Reid are up to the task and will look to guide a group of athletics newcomers eager to make their mark.
|Ethan Calvert | 6-1, 220, R-Fr. | Westlake Village, Calif.||Played in 1 game in 2021, 4-star recruit out of HS|
|Josh Calvert | 6-2, 227, So. | Westlake Village, Calif.||Played in 1 game in 2021, ranked No. 15 nationally at LB out of HS|
|Hayden Furey | 6-2, 226, Jr. | Saratoga Springs, Utah||22 career games played, starting four in 2021|
|Andrew Mata'afa | 6-3, 223, Jr. | San Diego, Calif.||25 career games played|
|Karene Reid | 6-0, 226, So. | American Fork, Utah||10 career games played with six starts in 2021, 15 tackles vs. Wash. St.|
|Lander Barton | 6-4, 227, Fr. | Cottonwood Heights, Utah||4-star recruit out of HS, rated No. 17 LB nationally|
|Mohamoud Diabate | 6-4, 220, Sr. | Auburn, Ala.||37 career games played with 17 starts at Florida from 2019-21|
|Justin Medlock | 6-0, 219, Fr. | Missouri City, Texas||3-star recruit out of HS, 97 tackles as a senior|
"The standards of the linebacker position at Utah seem to rise each year and this year's group is no exception. Transfer Mo Diabate and walk-on turned part-time starter Karene Reid are ready to show their talent and leadership skills on the field this season and they will be joined by newcomers Justin Medlock and Lander Barton who have already shown they are ready to make an immediate impact in 2022."
Speed, length and athleticism are three words used to the describe the 2022 cornerbacks group for the Utes, entering the season full strength after being brought down by injuries in 2021. The Utes had five different corners start multiple games last season, gaining live game experience with Clark Phillips III looking to anchor the secondary once again.
|JaTravis Broughton | 5-11, 195, Jr. | Tulsa, Okla.||21 career games played with 7 starts, All-Pac-12 in 2020|
|Faybian Marks | 5-10, 184, So. | Richmond, Texas||15 career games played with 7 starts, career-best 8 tackles vs. ASU in 2021|
|Malone Mataele | 5-11, 186, Jr. | Placentia, Calif.||26 career games played with 7 starts, 5 starts in 2021 at NB|
|Clark Phillips III | 5-10, 184, So. | Lakewood, Calif.||Has started every game he has appeared in (19), All-Pac-12 in 2021|
|Caine Savage | 5-11, 182, So. | Buena Park, Calif.||12 career games played, was on the two-deep in 2021|
|Zemaiah Vaughn | 6-2, 174, So. | Beaumont, Texas||17 career games played, earned scholarship in 2020 after walking on|
|Elijah Davis | 6-1, 165, Fr. | Winter Haven, Fla.||3-star recruit, had 40 tackles and three INT his senior year|
|Jocelyn Malaska | 6-1, 172, Fr. | Bethany, Okla.||No. 13 prospect out of Oklahoma, 1,182 AP yards and 107 tackles in HS|
"Our cornerback room was plagued with injuries in 2021, but it allowed for our underclassmen to gain valuable experience and develop into another talented group of corners. Clark Phillips III returns as our anchor in the secondary and will take on even more of a leadership role in 2022 with Malone Mataele looking to have another solid year at nickel back. JaTravis Broughton, Zemaiah Vaughn and Faybian Marks are all back from injury and we are excited to see what this group can do this season."
With the emergence of Cole Bishop in 2021 and the return of veteran R.J. Hubert, the Utah safety room is shaping up to be a threat for the Utes on the field this season. Along with the addition of transfers and talented newcomers, Morgan Scalley's safety group will look to continue the RSNB way – relentless, smart, nasty ballhawks.
|Cole Bishop | 6-2, 206, So. | Peachtree, Ga.||All-Pac-12 in 2021 after playing in 10 games with six starts|
|R.J. Hubert | 6-0, 198, Sr. | Logandale, Nev.||25 career games played|
|Bryson Reeves | 6-1, 200, So. | Montrose, Calif.||Transitioned from WR to safety in the spring of 2022|
|Darrien "Bleu" Stewart | 6-0, 190, R-Fr. | Las Vegas, Nev.||3 career games played, rated No. 7 recruit in Nevada out of HS|
|Clayton Isbell | 6-2, 220, Fr. | Naperville, Ill.||28 career games played at Illinois State, Hero Sports All-American|
|Jadon Pearson | 6-3, 200, So. | Gilbert, Ariz.||Rated No. 7 JUCO safety out of Reedley College|
|Sione Vaki | 6-0, 207, Fr. | Antioch, Calif.||3-star recruit, signed with Utah in 2019 before his church mission|
"We have had an outstanding run of safeties here at Utah and we expect that trend to continue this season. Cole Bishop is an extremely dynamic player for our defense and it we are looking forward to watching him continue to develop in his second year in the program. R.J. Hubert has battled hardships during his career here with injuries, but he's now back to full health in 2022 and ready to help lead talented newcomers in Sione Vaki and transfer Clayton Isbell."
The Utes are known for having a strong tradition with Ray Guy and Lou Groza Awards plastering the walls of the football facility, and this year's special teams unit will look to return Utah to that level of success.
|JT Greep, SN | 6-0, 221, So. | Glendora, Calif.||9 career games played in 2021, 71 snaps (16 punt, 10 FGs, 45 PAT)|
|Jordan Noyes, K | 5-10, 199, So. | Higham, Kent||18 career games played, has handled 95 total kickoffs|
|Jadon Redding, K | 5-11, 192, Jr. | Fredericksburg, Va.||31 career games played, All-Pac-12 that is 114-of-116 PATs and 28-of-35 FGs|
|Michael Williams, P | 6-1, 196, Jr. | Phoenix, Ariz.||14 career games played, averaged 44.3 ypp in 2021|
|Jack Bouwmeester, P | 6-2, 194, Jr. | Bendigo, Victoria, Australia||Played at Michigan State from 2019-20|
"Outstanding special teams have been a tradition of ours for many years, and we are looking to get the group back to that standard in 2022. Replacing Brit Covey, the best returner in the nation, will be a tall order but we have some talented players coming back as well. Jadon Redding returns after handling PATs and field goals last season with Jordan Noyes handling kickoffs. Michael Williams saw time at punter, but will also be joined by incoming Aussie punter Jack Bouwmeester. Fall camp will be a battle for the punt and kick return duties and we are looking forward to seeing how it plays out."