Utah football releases its depth chart. Who are QB1 and QB2?

Aug. 26, 2023
With less than a week to go before the Utah football team opens its season at Rice-Eccles Stadium against Florida, Utes fans now have a clearer idea of what the team will look like when it takes the field.
The team has released its first two-deep depth chart of the season.
Star quarterback Cam Rising was positioned as QB1 — perhaps not a surprise, as the program generally does not omit players from the depth chart unless they have suffered a season-ending injury. But with Rising’s status still up in the air as he recovers from a torn ACL in January’s Rose Bowl loss to Penn State, the team’s QB2 competition has been of equal intrigue.
After weeks of giving the edge to Bryson Barnes, including saying at one point that if the season started that day, Barnes would be the starter — head coach Kyle Whittingham declared on Monday that it was a “dead heat” between the junior walk-on and sophomore Nate Johnson.
Whittingham praised Johnson for taking advantage of the extra reps afforded to him following a fall practice injury to spring standout Brandon Rose, saying he was making significant progress as a result.
As of Friday, though, experience had apparently prevailed, with Barnes getting the nod as the QB2.
What that means for this coming Thursday against the Gators remains anyone’s guess, however.
Whittingham indicated he would wait as long as possible to name a starter, even joking that the “cutoff date” for his decision might well be “probably 10 minutes before kickoff. If [Rising] isn’t ready to go, then we’ll go with Plan B.” While acknowledging that there was some degree of keeping things close to the vest, he also insisted he was not engaging in chicanery or gamesmanship to leave Florida’s coaches and players guessing.
“We’re truly unsettled right now, so there’s really no deception at this point,” Whittingham said.
The depth chart at least provided clarity everywhere else.
The starting offensive line will consist of (from left to right) freshman Spencer Fano, junior Keaton Bills, senior Johnny Maea, sophomore Michael Mokofisi, and junior Sataoa Laumea.
In “12″ personnel, seniors Brant Kuithe (who, like Rising, has also been out of action while recovering from a torn ACL) and Thomas Yassmin will be the tight ends.
Sophomore Ja’Quinden Jackson is the starting running back.
At wide receiver, the Utes listed four potential starters — with juniors Devaughn Vele and Money Parks on the outside, and senior Mycah Pittman and/or freshman Mikey Matthews in the slot.
On defense, the team’s 4-3 alignment will feature a line consisting of (from left to right) junior Connor O’Toole, junior Junior Tafuna, redshirt freshman Keanu Tanuvasa, and junior Van Fillinger.
When deploying three linebackers, the team will feature junior Karene Reid at rover, junior Levani Damuni as the mac, and sophomore Lander Barton at the stud position.
In the secondary, senior JaTravis Broughton and junior Zemaiah Vaughn are the outside cornerbacks (while redshirt freshman Tao Johnson will be the nickel), and junior Cole Bishop is the free safety and sophomore Sione Vaki is the strong safety.
On special teams, junior Cole Becker is the placekicker and will also handle kickoffs, sophomore Jack Bouwmeester is the punter and placeholder, junior JT Greep is the long snapper. Vaki will be the primary kickoff returner, while Pittman will be the punt returner.

Latest Player Notes

How Wisconsin athletes are benefiting from a unique NIL deal with Madison's Exact Sciences

Feb 17, 2024MJ Hammill entered what can be a scary time of an athlete’s life in mid-December.She went into the volleyball ...

Mike Griffith: Texas is Georgia's primary focus this offseason

February 16, 2024The Georgia Bulldogs face three SEC contenders on the road next season in Alabama, Texas and Ole Miss. According ...

Navigating a season that could see Texas play Georgia more than once

February 17, 2024The Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs will play in Austin on Oct. 19. It may not be the only time they ...

After some key departures from the team, Dykes got busy in the portal this offseason.

5:11 PM on Feb 16, 2024Biggest unanswered question: Who will emerge as the clear WR1?Before last season, Williams was the ...

How Louisville football coach Jeff Brohm balances transfer portal, high school recruiting

Louisville Courier JournalCollege football used to buzz on the first Wednesday in February, but Louisville football's office ...

Bob Asmussen | Illinois defense counting on linebackers to plug the gaps

College Football Reporter/ColumnistCHAMPAIGN — A new linebacker coach is in place at Illinois, and Archie McDaniel said he ...

Where Alabama’s quarterback group stands before spring practice

Alabama football’s offense is going to look different this season. Kalen DeBoer has replaced the retired Nick Saban as head ...

Why did AJ McCarron return to the St. Louis Battlehawks?

When AJ McCarron joined the resurrected XFL last year, the former Alabama All-American hadn’t played since suffering a knee ...

Colorado football self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations from Deion Sanders’ first year with Buffs

1/26/2024The Colorado football program has self-reported 11 minor NCAA violations since the hiring of head coach Deion Sanders ...

What Steve Young said about today’s NFL quarterbacks

By Jackson Payne Steve Young may have enjoyed a Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but that doesn’t stop him from feeling just ...
See More Player Notes