04/22/15 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Devontae Booker's football career could have easily ended years ago - on more than one occasion. Now he's the centerpiece of the Utah offense and a year away from a possible selection in the NFL draft. The Utes running back was eight yards shy of setting the school's single-season rushing record in his first year with the program. That after sitting out all of 2013 due to an academic issue following two years at American River College. The 2013 season was the second time academics forced him to miss an entire season. Booker signed with Washington State out of high school but sat out in 2010 before playing for American River in 2011. He's played three years and missed two in the last five years - not an ideal scenario. "It was frustrating," Booker said. "I thought I was going to come up in 2013, but things didn't go out how it was supposed to."
Booker could be chasing the NFL right now after rushing for 1,512 yards in the Pac-12 last season. But the sociology major wanted to finish his education and NFL types wanted to see more. Booker was a relative unknown when he went to Utah and had to beat out Bubba Poole in the fall for the starting job. "I didn't know much about him when he first got here, but he definitely changed my view on him," quarterback Travis Wilson said. "He really stunned a lot of people and made us better throughout the whole season." Booker won't sneak up on anyone in 2015 after missing out on the Pac-12 rushing title by just 64 yards in 2014. Teams were stacking the box by the end of the season and the Utes will continue to see more of the same. Co-offensive coordinator Jim Harding said the coaching staff has to be more creative with different formations, motions, using the quarterback in the run game and using Booker more in the pass game after he had 43 receptions for 306 yards last season. - AP Sports
02/23/15 - (CB) - Eric Rowe, Sr, 6-1, 205 2015 NFL Combine Five Things to Know: 4. Corner or safety? Rowe shows the skillset for both: At 6-1 and 205 pounds with long arms, Eric Rowe saw playing time at both safety and cornerback in college with scouts split on where his best position might be at the next level. But instead of limiting him to one or the other, he has the versatility to do both, and his workout numbers on Monday only backed that up. Rowe finished among the best performers in Indianapolis with a 4.45 40-yard dash, 39-inch vertical, 10-5 broad jump, 6.70 3-cone drill, 3.97 short shuttle and 19 reps on the bench. He checked a number of boxes and might have secured his spot as a top-100 prospect in the 2015 class. Some teams still like him best at cornerback while others see him as a safety, but regardless, he has the skill-set to play either and start in the NFL. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
02/19/15 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187 2015 NFL Combine Quick Hits: Utah WR Dres Anderson hasn't seen the field since October when he suffered a knee injury that ended his college career. But his meniscus tear is almost fully healed and he plans on running at Utah's Pro Day on March 26. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
02/17/15 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250 2015 DRAFT SCOUT PRE-COMBINE TOP 64 DRAFT PROSPECTS: 42/5. Nate Orchard, OLB, Utah, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 2...Orchard has a high-rev motor and can fire off the line in a blink as a pass rusher whose long strides surprise quarterbacks with a sudden impact. That helped him total 18.5 sacks in 2014 and he finished his career with an impressive stat on an important trait that is often overlooked, forced fumbles. His eight forced fumbles is tied for second in team history. Orchard was a Ted Hendricks Award and Morris Award winner, but his biggest prizes are his wife, the former Maegen Webber, and their daughter, Katherine Mae, whose full name is Nap'aa Lilo Fakahafua Orchard in respect for his birth mother, Ana Fakahafua. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange
02/16/15 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187 2015 NFL COMBINE: PROSPECTS WITH THE MOST TO GAIN OR LOSE, MEDICAL EVALUATIONS: WR Dres Anderson, Utah...Scouts haven't seen Anderson, who is the son of former NFL receiver Flipper Anderson, on the field since October when he suffered a knee injury that prematurely ended his time at Utah. He isn't expected to be ready to run in Indianapolis, but teams will soon receive an update on his rehab process. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
02/16/15 - (WR) - Kaelin Clay, Sr, 5-10, 195 2015 NFL COMBINE WIDE RECEIVER SURPRISE INVITE: Kaelin Clay, Utah....Although best known for fumbling the ball before entering the end zone vs. Oregon, Clay has speed that could impress in Indianapolis. His size and unpolished routes aren't ideal for the NFL, but standout times during speed drills could turn heads. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/25/15 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250 2015 Senior Bowl: 10 prospects who helped themselves: DE/OLB Nate Orchard, Utah (6-3, 251)...Despite a record-setting senior season at Utah, Orchard wasn't considered a first-round pick entering the week and was far from being a top-100 lock. But he forced evaluators to take a second look after he routinely flashed during practices, winning with edge speed, long arms and active energy. Orchard has his limitations, but he also uses his bag of tricks to be effective, reinforcing that at times the end result is more important than the process. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
01/22/15 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250 2015 Senior Bowl, Thursday: Utah's Nate Orchard blooming for North...Given that he won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end and the Morris Trophy as the Pac-12's best defensive lineman, it would be hard to characterize Utah's Nate Orchard as underrated. Still, his performance this week at the Senior Bowl is turning skeptics into believers. Thursday's practice was a perfect example. When the Tennessee Titans elected to use Orchard as a pass rusher, the 6-foot-3, 251-pounder was a constant thorn in the side of opposing offensive linemen and the skill position players they're attempting to protect.
Using a variety of pass rush moves -- including a varied burst off the ball, over-arm swim and very effective bull-rush, Orchard consistently beat the North's tackles in one-on-one drills and was even more noticeable in scrimmages, tracking down Washington State wideout Vince Mayle for a big loss on an end-around, recording an interception of Baylor's Bryce Petty on a screen pass and consistently applying pressure as a rusher. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
01/22/15 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250 2015 Senior Bowl, Thursday: Orchard, who was recruited to Utah as a wide receiver, doesn't possess ideal bulk for the 4-3 defensive end role in which he's likely to play in the NFL. He has relatively narrow shoulders and relies more on technique and awareness than an explosive speed or power. He has reasonable body control for a player of his size but is clearly more comfortable rushing than he is dropping into coverage, as he was often asked to do in linebacker drills. Because of these limitations, Orchard could get pushed into the draft's second day despite his stellar production (84 tackles including 21.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in 2014) and impressive week in Mobile. Don't be surprised, however, when Orchard ultimately out-plays his draft pick and blossoms into a quality pass-rusher in the NFL. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
01/14/15 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Devontae Booker will be back for 2015 season...In his one year on the hill, Devontae Booker finished seven yards shy of John White IV’s single-season rushing record. In 2015, he’ll get another crack at it, according to a release Wednesday from Utah Athletics. The transfer from American River College has decided to not declare for the NFL Draft and to return to the U., where he rushed for 1,512 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 43 passes for 306 yards and two more, despite not becoming Utah’s featured back until the team’s fourth game. Booker’s bruising style earned him the nickname "Book Mode," an homage to Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch, and the talent that was apparent to coaches early on in spring ball soon became apparent to NFL Draft pundits, with Booker ranked among the top-10 available backs.
But Booker, a first-team All-Pac-12 and first-team All-Academic Pac-12 player, opted to finish his sociology degree this spring and "further my education in a minor in something else that interests me," he said in the U.’s release. "Over the break, I had the decision of a lifetime to make about whether to go the NFL or stay in school," he said. "I talked to my family, friends and coaches on the decision, and I’ve decided to stay at the University of Utah for my senior season." - Matthew Piper, The Salt Lake Tribune
12/30/14 - (OG) - *Jeremiah Poutasi, Jr, 6-5, 335 Block Party? Trio of OTs skip senior year for NFL...Poutasi ranks eighth among NFLDraftScout.com's 2016 OTs. The 6-foot-5, 322 pounder started the past two seasons at left tackle for the Utes but began his career on the right side. The ability to switch positions could be critical for Poutasi as he looks like a candidate to move inside to guard. Poutasi can overwhelm defenders with his sheer size but he struggled with Southern Cal's speed and will, of course, see a lot more of it in the NFL. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
12/30/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Jr, 6-6, 240 Right from the start, quarterback Travis Wilson and No. 22 Utah had Colorado State on the run in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Wilson rushed for a season-best 91 yards, scored three touchdowns and passed for another in a 45-10 rout Saturday. "I'm not going to say it's his absolute strong suit, but he's a capable runner," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "He's deceptive." So were the Utes, who have won 11 of their last 12 bowl games. Utah (9-4) scored on its first three possessions and used big plays that measured 36, 49 and 60 yards. They also employed what Whittingham called some "trickeration."
On their first offensive snap, the Utes confused Colorado State when Wilson flipped the ball to running back Devontae Booker, who threw it back to Wilson, who then heaved it down field to Kaelin Clay for 36 yards to the Colorado State 17. Two plays later, Wilson scored from 8 yards out. "They hit us with an explosive play right off the bat," Colorado State interim coach Doug Baldwin said. "Normally we start fast, but they started fast. Then we went three-and-out and they hit us again with a long run. Their explosiveness early hurt us," he said. Wilson rushed for a season-high 91 yards on 11 carries and completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards. - AP Sports
11/16/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Jr, 6-6, 240 Utah and Stanford, the Pac-12's ultimate grinders, needed more than 60 minutes to decide which team is the conference's king of gritty victories. And then they needed more. Travis Wilson ended the defensive stalemate with a brief burst of offense in the second overtime, throwing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Scott to send No. 25 Utah to a 20-17 win over Stanford on Saturday night. "You see everybody on this team working so hard and to see it pay off, it's pretty awesome," Scott said. Kaelin Clay, whose careless goal-line fumble swayed the momentum in a loss to Oregon last weekend, caught a 25-yard TD pass on a wheel route on the first play of overtime before the Cardinal came back with the tying score.
Jordan Williamson kicked a career-long 51-yard field goal - the same distance Stanford coach David Shaw passed up late in the fourth quarter - to start the second session, setting the stage for the Utes' dramatic finish. Wilson, who regained the starting quarterback job after Kendal Thompson's season-ending knee injury against Oregon, found Scott on a slant route on third-and-1. Scott jumped up, lifted his arms in the air and was swarmed by teammates streaming into the end zone after spoiling Stanford's Senior Day celebration. The Utes improved to 2-1 in overtime. They had never played three overtime games in a season. - AP Sports
10/29/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187 Utah announced Wednesday morning that senior wide receiver Dres Anderson will miss the remainder of the 2014 season due to a knee injury. Anderson is currently ranked as the No. 14 wide receiver prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft by NFLDraftScout.com and No. 90 prospect overall. He was considered a second day draft pick, but the severity of his injury could push him out of the top-100 picks. It is unclear if the injury occurred in Saturday's win over USC or during practice, but Anderson has been ruled out for the rest of the season and his readiness to work out for scouts prior to the 2015 NFL Draft is in question.
Anderson, the son of 10-year NFL veteran receiver Willie “Flipper” Anderson, led the Utes this season with 355 receiving yards and four touchdowns, averaging 16.1 yards per catch. He will finish his college career with 2,077 career receiving yards, which ranks fifth-best in school history. As a NFL prospect, Anderson is highly thought of due to his speed to release off the line of scrimmage and stretch the field. He has long, fast strides to eat grass in a hurry and accelerate past defenders, showing sticky hands and excellent tracking ability. Anderson is lean-muscled and doesn't have ideal NFL bulk, but he uses his frame well to pluck and is much tougher than he looks. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
10/28/14 - (K) - Andy Phillips, rSo, 5-10, 207 OCT 20 PAC-12 SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Utah kicker Andy Phillips, a sophomore from Draper, Utah, was three-for-three on field goal attempts with makes from 46, 43 and 38 yards in Utah’s 29-23 double-overtime win at Oregon State. He improved to 9-of-11 in 40+ yard field goals this season and 13-of-15 overall. Phillips, who leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the nation in scoring (10.8 ppg), scored 11 total points against the Beavers, going 2-of-2 in PATs to improve to 26-of-26 this season and 67-of-67 in his career. Also nominated for Special Teams Player of the Week: Zane Gonzalez, K, ASU; Ka’imi Fairbairn, K, UCLA; Alex Wood, K, USC. - Pac-12 football
10/28/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Jr, 6-6, 240 Travis Wilson threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kaelin Clay with 8 seconds left to lift Utah past Southern California. Wilson put the Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) in position for the winning touchdown when he was flushed from the pocket and scrambled 19 yards, diving as he approached the goal line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but was overturned on review - giving Utah the ball a foot from the end zone. Devontae Booker was stopped just short on the next play before Wilson's touchdown pass on a sprint out to the right side - a catch that also was reviewed before it was confirmed. After Adoree' Jackson returned the kickoff to the USC 28, the Trojans' last-gasp effort was snuffed when Cody Kessler was sacked by Nate Orchard and Hunter Dimick on the final play. Southern California dropped to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12. - AP Sports
10/22/14 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Devontae Booker doesn't elaborate on his recent success, mostly saying he just runs hard. That tactic seems to work just fine for the Utah junior, who has rushed for an average of 187.7 yards in the last three games for the No. 19 Utes. His last outing was a 229-yard, three-touchdown eruption against Oregon State last Thursday night, sending Utah to a 29-23 double-overtime victory over the Beavers in Corvallis. "Every time my name was called I just took it and ran with it, ran hard and fought for extra yards," he said. Those yards pushed Booker into a tie for fifth on Utah's single-game best list. It also was the top rushing performance in the Pac-12 so far this season. "That guy is a beast," Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said. "I think he's the best back in the Pac-12."
Although he's started just two games for the Utes, Booker ranks second in the conference for yards rushing per game with nearly 124. Only Javorius Allen of USC has more with an average of 129.9 per game. Booker has no doubt solidified his job as starter for Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) which hosts the No. 20 Trojans (5-2, 4-1) on Saturday night. Allen and Booker should both have the attention of the opposing defenses. "It will be very pivotal," Whittingham said about the showdown between the two backs. "Just about every week, most weeks, football comes down to stopping the run and being able to run. We've got two teams doing a nice job. I think we're rushing for a few more yards per week than they are." - AP Sports
10/22/14 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Seven players ran for at least 170 yards this week - and all seven of their teams won. Utah's Devontae Booker led the way with 229 yards and three touchdowns in a 29-23 win over Oregon State. Booker has cracked 150 yards in three straight games, and the surging Utes have won back-to-back Pac-12 road games. Georgia's Nick Chubb made Bulldogs fans temporarily forget the absence of star Todd Gurley with 202 yards in a 45-32 win at Arkansas. Minnesota's David Cobb (194 yards) and Central Michigan's Thomas Rawls (167 yards) became the fourth and fifth players to reach 1,000 yards rushing on Saturday, though Rawls and the Chippewas fell to Ball State 32-29. - AP Sports
10/17/14 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Devontae Booker ran 19 yards for a touchdown in the second overtime to give No. 20 Utah a 29-23 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night. Booker finished with 229 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12), which has won all four of its road games this season. Booker also ran for a 15-yard score in the first overtime to put the Utes in front 23-16. The Beavers (4-2, 1-2) answered with Sean Mannion's 2-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Villamin on fourth down to force another period. Trevor Romaine, whose 49-yard field goal as time expired in regulation tied the game at 16, attempted a 37-yard field goal that went wide right, giving the ball back to Utah for the game-winning drive.
It was Booker's third straight game with more than 150 yards rushing for the Utes, off to their best start since winning their first eight games in 2010. Mannion threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Villamin early in the fourth quarter to put Oregon State in front 13-9. But the Utes mounted a comeback and Booker ran 53 yards to the Oregon State 6. On fourth down, Booker plunged into the end zone with 4:20 left. Romaine's 49-yard kick sent the game to overtime. - AP Sports
10/17/14 - (RB) - Devontae Booker, rJr, 5-11, 209 Devontae Booker ran for a 19-yard touchdown in the second overtime, giving 20th-ranked Utah a 29-23 overtime victory over Oregon State on Thursday night at Reser Stadium. The Beavers (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) failed to score on their second possession of the overtime. Trevor Romaine, who kicked three field goals earlier, including one to force overtime, was wide right from 37 yards. Booker then carried three consecutive times to provide the winning score, his third touchdown of the game. He finished with 229 yards on 32 carries. He topped 100 rushing yards for the third consecutive game. Utah (5-1, 2-1) scored on the opening possession of overtime when Booker ran in from 15 yards. Oregon State answered with freshman wide receiver Jordan Villamin catching a 2-yard scoring pass from quarterback Sean Mannion on fourth down.
The Beavers forced the extra session when Romaine kicked a 49-yard field on the final play of regulation to knot the score at 16-16. Utah took a 16-13 lead with four minutes left when Booker nudged his way into the end zone on fourth down from a yard out. The touchdown came on the seventh consecutive carry by Booker on a 94-yard drive that featured Booker's 53-yard run to the 6-yard line, his longest gain of the night. The Beavers responded with a drive that included four consecutive completions by Mannion to reach the Utah 28-yard line in the final minute. A false-start penalty and a sack pushed the Beavers back and led to the kick that forced overtime. The Beavers took their first lead of the game three plays into the fourth quarter when Mannion, who earlier in the game moved into second place on the Pac-12 career passing yardage list, found Villamin open behind the Utah secondary for a 72-yard touchdown and a 13-9 advantage. - The Sports Xchange
10/13/14 - (K) - Andy Phillips, rSo, 5-10, 207 SEPT 22 PAC-12 SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Utah kicker Andy Phillips, a sophomore from Draper, Utah, accounted for more than half of Utah’s points in its 26-10 win over Michigan, making 4-of-5 field goals and 2-of-2 PATs for a total of 14 points. His clutch performance in the Big House featured makes from 35, 38, 48 and 50 yards. His only miss came after a lengthy rain delay, when his 41-yard attempt bounced off the upright. Phillips became the first Ute to make four field goals in a game since 2011 (Coleman Peterson). Phillips also had five touchbacks on six kickoffs. Also nominated for Special Teams Player of the Week: Darragh O’Neill, P, COLO. - Pac-12 football
10/13/14 - (ILB) - Gionni Paul, rJr, 5-10, 227 SEPT 22 PAC-12 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Utah linebacker Gionni Paul, a junior from Winter Haven, Fla., made his first appearance as a Ute since transferring from Miami (Fla.), and helped Utah take down Michigan on the road, 26-10. Paul, a redshirt last year who missed the first two games of this season while recovering from a foot injury suffered in the spring, had a game-high 14 tackles at Michigan, along with an interception and a fumble recovery. In the fourth quarter, his interception stopped Michigan’s first drive. Much later, after a two-hour, 24-minute weather delay, he recovered a fumble to halt the Wolverines on their first series out of the break. Paul led a Utes defense that never allowed the Michigan offense to enter the red zone. Also nominated for Defensive Player of the Week: Scooby Wright III, LB, ARIZ; Greg Henderson, CB, COLO; Michael Doctor, LB, OSU; Jeremiah Allison, LB, WSU. - Pac-12 football
10/13/14 - (WR) - Kaelin Clay, Sr, 5-10, 195 SEPT 1 PAC-12 SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay, a senior from Long Beach, Calif, made an explosive Ute debut with a pair of long-distance touchdown returns during Utah’s season-opening 56-14 win over Idaho State. On his first touch as a Ute, Clay returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown late in the first half. It was Utah’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2010. One quarter later, Clay returned his first and only kickoff return of the game 100 yards for a touchdown. He was the only Pac-12 player, and one of only four in FBS, to return a kickoff 100 yards during the opening weekend. He became the first Pac-12 player since 1999 (Deltha O’Neal, California) to score a touchdown on a punt return and a kickoff return in the same game. Also nominated for Special Teams Player of the Week: Casey Skowron, K, ARIZ; Zane Gonzalez, PK, ASU; Charles Nelson, PR, ORE; Garrett Owens, PK, OSU; Ty Montgomery WR/PR, STAN; Ishmael Adams, DB, UCLA. - Pac-12 football
10/13/14 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250 OCT 6 PAC-12 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Utah defensive end Nate Orchard, a senior from Salt Lake City, Utah, tied the school record with four sacks and recorded a career-high 11 tackles to help the Utes upset No. 8 UCLA, 30-28. Two of his sacks came in the fourth quarter and helped the Ute defense hold the Bruins to three consecutive three-and-outs. His 8-yard sack on third down stopped the first drive of the quarter and his 6-yard sack on first down in the third series of the quarter was the first of three consecutive sacks for the Utes. Orchard moved into the national lead in both sacks (8.5) and sacks per game (1.70) with his big game against UCLA and helped his team move into the national lead in sacks per game (5.6). Utah’s 10 sacks against UCLA is the second-most in school history. Also nominated for Defensive Player of the Week: Dan Pettinato, DL, ARIZ; Jordan Simone, S, ASU; Jabral Johnson, LB, OSU; Owamagbe Odighizuwa, DL, UCLA. - Pac-12 football
10/08/14 - (K) - Andy Phillips, rSo, 5-10, 207 Andy Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal with 34 seconds left for Utah, and UCLA's Ka'imi Fairbairn missed two field-goal attempts with no time on the clock as the Utes stunned the No. 8 Bruins 30-28 on Saturday night. Brett Hundley passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns for the Bruins (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12), who became the fourth team in the Top 10 to lose Saturday, and the fifth to fall this weekend. Utah (4-1, 1-1) drove 63 yards in 10 plays for the go-ahead kick, taking 4:16 off the clock behind the rushing of Kendal Thompson and Devontae Booker to set up the kick by Phillips, the one-time member of the U.S. Ski Team. Hundley drove the Bruins to the Utah 37, but Fairbairn missed a 50-yard field goal on an untimed down after Eric Rowe was penalized for running into Fairbairn on a failed 55-yard attempt as time expired. Booker ran for 156 yards and Oklahoma transfer Thompson added 83 yards on the ground for the Utes, who bounced back splendidly after blowing a 21-point lead last week in home loss to Washington State. - AP Sports