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  College Player Notes by School: Utah  
Previous 25 Utah Notes Next 25 Utah Notes

10/13/14 - (OLB) - Gionni Paul, rSr, 5-10, 226
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 Michiganís 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 Utahís 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 Utahís 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 OíNeal, 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). Utahís 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, rJr, 5-10, 205
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


10/08/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187
Utah 30, No. 8 UCLA 28...Utah capped a wild day filled with upsets in college football with a 30-28 victory over No. 8 UCLA on Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif. Andy Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal with 34 seconds left to cap a 10-play, 63-yard drive and provide the winning margin in the Pac-12 game. No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas A&M were among the other ranked teams to lose Saturday. No. 2 Oregon fell on Thursday night. UCLA (4-1,1-1 Pac-12) rallied from a 24-14 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead on a 93-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Hundley to wide receiver Devin Filler and a 40-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Eldridge Massington.

The Bruins had a final shot at the win, but kicker Ka'imi Fairbaim missed two field goal attempts -- the first from 55 yards and the second from 50 yards after Utah's Eric Rowe was whistled for a 5-yard penalty for running into the kicker. Phillips kicked three field goals, defensive back Tevin Carter returned an interception 27 yards for the first score of the game, quarterback Kendal Thompson threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dres Anderson in the second quarter and running back Devontae Booker scored on a 6-yard run in the third quarter for Utah (4-1,1-1). Booker finished with 156 yards rushing on 33 carries and Thompson completed 10 of 13 passes for 95 yards and ran for 83 yards on 19 carries. - The Sports Xchange

09/12/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Sr, 6-7, 233
Just months after his career appeared to be over, Travis Wilson is back. Even better for Utah, the junior quarterback is surrounded by new playmakers. Wilson passed for 265 yards in the first half and newcomers Devontae Booker and Kaelin Clay each had a pair of touchdowns to help Utah blow past Idaho State 56-14 on Thursday night. "There's definitely a lot of weapons I can use and definitely a lot of places where I can spread the ball around," said Wilson, who faced the possibility of not suiting up again after a head injury last season. "I'm really blessed to have the opportunity to come back and play."

Wilson and the Utes struck quickly and often. Utah posted three touchdown drives of less than 42 seconds and added two other scores on kick returns. "We did out-athlete them," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We made big plays at the skill positions." Clay, a junior college transfer, returned a punt 46 yards for his first touchdown. In the second half Clay broke away for a 100-yard kick-off return. "It felt great," Clay said. "I pride myself on special teams. That's a unit that kind of goes unnoticed, so I take a lot of pride in it." - AP Sports

08/24/14 - (DE) - Kylie Fitts, rJr, 6-4, 268
Former UCLA DE Fitts headed to Utah...Former UCLA defensive end Kylie Fitts is transferring to Utah, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Fitts left UCLA about three weeks ago. He will sit out this season because of NCAA transfer rules. He will have three years of eligibility beginning in the 2015 season. Initially, Fresno State and San Diego State were speculated as the top schools Fitts was considering. Fitts was a highly-regarded recruit in 2013. He played six games his freshman season with the Bruins. When Fitts announced why he was leaving UCLA, he cited "personal reasons and nothing to do with depth or playing time issues. - The Sports Xchange


08/18/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Sr, 6-7, 233
Utah names Travis Wilson its starting quarterback...Did you know that Utah had a quarterback competition going on this summer? Well it did, but now it's over, and Travis Wilson has been named the victor. I don't know if it comes with a WWE-style championship belt, but it probably should. Don't you think it'd make the players try harder if they got a belt? Anyway, while the result of the competition may not have been the biggest of surprises, it was somewhat interesting considering that Wilson's primary foe was Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson. Thompson was a member of Oklahoma's 2011 recruiting class and spent three years with the Sooners before announcing his transfer to Utah in February.

Thompson graduated from Oklahoma in May and was therefore eligible to play this season. He'll start the season on the sideline, though. Wilson played in nine games for the Utes as a sophomore in 2013, passing for 1,827 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also rushed for 386 yards and five touchdowns, but there were the 16 interceptions he tossed as well. So while Thompson will start the year behind Wilson on the depth chart, should Wilson's turnover woes continue this year, Thompson could still find himself getting a shot. - Tom Fornelli, CBSSports.com

08/06/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187
2014 PRESEASON MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: Dres Anderson, Utah Wide, Receiver, Senior...Anderson, who was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection last season, is the top returning receiver in the Pac-12. Last year, he became the seventh receiver in school history to reach 1,000 yards in a season, gaining 1,002 yards on 53 catches. Anderson led the Pac-12 and was 12th in the country in yards per catch (18.91) in 2013, while finishing fourth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (83.5). He was tied for first in the nation in receptions of 50 yards or longer (7). - Utah football


08/06/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187
2014 PRESEASON BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH LIST: Dres Anderson, University of Utah, Sr.,...Anderson, who was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection last season, is preparing to start for his third season. Last year he became the seventh receiver in school history to reach 1,000 yards in a season, gaining 1,002 yards on 53 catches. Anderson led the Pac-12 and was 12th in the country in yards per catch (18.91) in 2013, while finishing fourth in the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (83.5). He was tied for first in the nation in receptions of 50 yards or longer (7). Anderson has six career 100-yard receiving games, which is tied for fifth in school history. - Utah football


08/06/14 - (P) - Tom Hackett, Sr, 5-11, 198
2014 PRESEASON RAY GUY AWARD WATCH LIST: Tom Hackett, Utah...Hackett earned first-team all-Pac-12 honors last season. He led the Pac-12 in punt yards (3,300), average (43.4), punts inside the 20 (27, tie), 50+ yard punts (19) and long punt (70, tie). His 3,300 punt yards also set the school record for punt yards in a season. In his career, Hackett has placed 42% of his punts inside the 20 (42-of 101), including 18 inside the 10-yard line and 10 inside the 5-yard line. - Utah football


08/06/14 - (K) - Andy Phillips, rJr, 5-10, 205
2014 PRESEASON LOU GROZA AWARD WATCH LIST: Andy Phillips, Utah...A third-team Freshman All-American (as selected by Athlon Sports) and honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection, Phillips went 17-of-20 in field goals during the season, including 9-for-11 from 40+ yards. He tied for second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (85%) and tied for third in the conference in field goals made. Phillips also led the Pac-12 in PATs, going 41-for-41. - Utah football


07/28/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Sr, 6-7, 233
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson has been cited at a concert on a charge of possession or consumption of alcohol by a minor. The Utah Department of Public Safety issued a statement Saturday saying the 20-year-old Wilson was cited Friday night in Salt Lake City and released at the scene. Team officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham said this week that Wilson is the favorite for the starting quarterback job heading into training camp. Last month, Wilson was cleared to play months after a concussion revealed a pre-existing medical condition last season. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior has started 16 games over two seasons. He completed 133 of 237 passes for 1,827 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions for the Utes last season before his concussion. - AP Sports


07/02/14 - (CB) - Eric Rowe, Sr, 6-1, 205
Utah's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 3. S Eric Rowe, Senior...A three-year starter and all-conference pick at free safety, Rowe is expected to make the move to cornerback in 2014 to help ease the loss of Keith McGill, a fourth round pick by the Oakland Raiders. Rowe's length, broad-shouldered frame and straight-line speed (Utah coaches reportedly clocked him at 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash) make him an intriguing prospect regardless of where he ultimately lines up. He enters his senior campaign with 202 tackles and 21 passes broken up and is well-versed in pro-style schemes given Utah's heavy man coverage philosophy.

It remains to be seen how well Rowe will acclimate to cornerback. He shows good balance, a quick turning motion and the fluid acceleration while operating as a deep centerfielder. He's alert in coverage and is quick to come downhill in run support. He breaks down well to make the efficient open-field tackle and flashes big-hitting ability. With only two interceptions among his 21 passes broken up, turning some of those deflections into turnovers would be a quick way to boost his draft stock. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

07/02/14 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250
Utah's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. DE Nate Orchard, Senior...Orchard initially signed with Utah as a wide receiver and with the last name Fakahafua. He adopted the last name of his guardians after two years at Utah but didn't wait that long to switch positions, earning time at defensive end, linebacker and special teams as a true freshman, notching four tackles and two passes broken up. Orchard emerged as Utah's starting left defensive end in 2012, earning honorable mention all-conference honors with 48 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He demonstrated an intriguing ability to make big plays in big games, registering a forced fumble that he recovered and took back for a touchdown against USC and eight tackles, including a sack, against Washington. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


07/02/14 - (DE) - Nate Orchard, Sr, 6-3, 250
Utah's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 2. DE Nate Orchard, Senior...Orchard continued his playmaking ways as a junior, posting five tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in the Utes' shocking win over previously undefeated Stanford. He finished the year with 50 tackles, including nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Orchard's ascent as a legitimate NFL prospect is due to a combination of size, natural athleticism and his hard work. He has packed 60 pounds of muscle onto his frame since signing with the Utes as a 195-pound receiver and has retained his agility. He shows good quickness and balance to elude blockers and force quarterbacks to get off their spot. His flexibility and awareness makes his effective dropping off into coverage, as well. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


07/02/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187
Utah's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. WR Dres Anderson, Senior...As Seattle Seahawks' general manager John Schneider has been known to do, the defending Super Bowl champions surprised many with selecting Pac-12 speedster Paul Richardson with his team's first pick of the 2014 draft. Anderson, the son of 10-year NFL receiver Willie "Flipper" Anderson, is hoping to ride a similar wave of big play ability as the former Buffalo into an early round selection next spring. Despite marginal play at quarterback in 2013, Anderson nearly tripled the production he posted as a sophomore, becoming just the seventh Ute to eclipse the 1,000 yard receiving mark (1,002 yards). Much of his production came on big plays. Though few outside of the Pac-12 know his name, no one caught more than Anderson's seven passes of 50+ yards a year ago. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


07/02/14 - (WR) - Dres Anderson, Sr, 6-1, 187
Utah's top NFL Draft-eligible prospects to watch in 2014: 1. WR Dres Anderson, Senior...Anderson's very lean frame (especially in his lower body) is sure to draw some concern from scouts but it is worth noting that he hasn't missed a game due to injury and is often asked to make plays across the middle. Anderson boasts impressive first-step acceleration and lateral agility to slip through creases and break away from the defense. He's frequently targeted on relatively simple passes like screens and as vertical threat but also runs pro-style routes (slants, comebacks, crosses, drags) that require more sophistication. He shows very good hand-eye coordination and body control to contort in space to make the tough reception, though his spindly frame puts him at a disadvantage on 50-50 balls. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


07/02/14 - (OG) - *Jeremiah Poutasi, Jr, 6-5, 335
Other Utah prospects worth watching: OL Jeremiah Poutasi, Junior...Poutasi spent his first two seasons at Utah playing tackle, first at the blindside as a freshman before moving to the right side last year. The Utes are considering him at his natural position of guard in 2014. Poutasi has struggled with his weight (he's reportedly down to 330 now) but is surprisingly quick and light on his feet. He does not possess ideal flexibility or length and struggles a bit with leverage but could emerge as a draftable commodity if he takes to the new role. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


07/02/14 - (SS) - Brian Blechen, rSr, 6-2, 226
Other Utah prospects worth watching: S Brian Blechen, Senior...Blechen missed the entire 2013 season with knee tendinitis, which will obviously warrant investigation from any NFL team looking to add him to their roster. He is an instinctive, physical defender who has shown a knack for making big plays throughout his career, notching eight interceptions and six forced fumbles in 35 career starts. Blechen was recruited as a quarterback but his blue-collar style and grit earned him a spot on defense and he won the strong safety role in his first week of practice. Blechen has 'tweener traits but has been too productive for too long to ignore. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com


06/25/14 - (QB) - Travis Wilson, Sr, 6-7, 233
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson has been cleared to play months after a concussion revealed a pre-existing medical condition last season. Wilson had previously been cleared to participate in spring football practice, but he was limited to non-contact drills as a precautionary measure. The school says that a CT scan on June 20 showed that the previous trauma to an intracranial artery has remained stable since February. The injury was discovered after Wilson suffered a concussion in a Nov. 9 game against Arizona State.

"I had a feeling nothing would change from the previous scan, so I've been working to get back into shape. I feel totally comfortable about returning to football and full contact," Wilson said in a statement. "I believe I've been playing with this condition for awhile and never even knew about it. I'm going to keep playing just the way I've always played. I knew something positive would come out of the whole thing." The 6-foot-7, 240-pound junior has started 16 games over two seasons. He completed 133 of 237 passes for 1,827 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions for the Utes last season before his concussion. - AP Sports

05/14/14 - (DT) - Tenny Palepoi, Sr, 6-1, 298
San Diego Chargers agreed to terms with 17 rookie free agents: Tenny Palepoi, DL, Utah,...Second-team All-Pac-12 selection started all 13 games and finished third on team with 9.5 tackles for loss. - San Diego Chargers


05/12/14 - (CB) - Keith McGill, rSr, 6-3, 211
A closer look at the Raiders' picks: Round 4/116 - Keith McGill, CB, 6-3, 211, Utah...The Raiders looked past off-the-field issues that included a 2012 DUI arrest and a reputation for not taking the sport seriously enough in part because McGill said he has matured. The physical talent is not in question. McGill is a big, physical press corner who was a standout in the receiver-rich Pac-12 conference. - The Sports Xchange


05/12/14 - (CB) - Keith McGill, rSr, 6-3, 211
Cornerback Keith McGill, taken in the fourth round at No. 116 out of Utah, promises the Raiders won't regret selecting him despite a past that includes a DUI and a reputation for not taking the game seriously until his senior year with the Utes. "All the teams that passed on me are going to realize it's a big mistake and the Raiders are going to realize it's probably a really good draft pick," McGill said.

McGill, who was rehabbing a serious shoulder injury at the time of his arrest, thought that period in his life helped turn things around. "It was probably where I grew as a person," McGill said. "I sat down with the coaches and talked about where I wanted my life to go. I realized that everything can be taken away in a flash, and the window was closing. There comes a point in your life where you make a decision to become a man or remain a boy. That's what I did before the 2013 season. It got me in the situation I am in now." - The Sports Xchange

05/12/14 - (OLB) - Trevor Reilly, rSr, 6-5, 245
A closer look at the Jets' picks: Round 7/233 -- Trevor Reilly, OLB, 6-5, 245, Utah...At 26, Reilly will be older than many of the players he meets this summer in Cortland. But Reilly -- who spent two years on a Mormon mission before enrolling at Utah -- will get a chance to prove he can chip in as a situational pass rusher. - The Sports Xchange


Previous 25 Utah Notes Next 25 Utah Notes

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