The Utes have to find one or multiple backs to replace Devontae Booker. Luckily, they have a stable of talented backs that are itching to be "the guy". It's doubtful that Utah will ride one guy like they did with Booker last year, and it's more likely that they split carries between two or maybe even three backs. Here are the candidates:
Joe Williams- 5'11, 205 lbs, SR
Williams enters fall camp as the number one back, and showed what he could do in the final three games of the season, as he scored three touchdowns and averaged 133 yards per game. He has blazing speed and is very agile, and also is a good pass catcher out of the backfield. He isn't a bruiser, although he's not afraid to lower his shoulder and take on tacklers. Williams had some fumble problems in some of his games, he needs to shore that up and improve his pass blocking. Overall, he's very well-suited to be Utah's starter.
Troy McCormick- 5'9", 178 lbs, JR
McCormick is coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2015 which prevented him from playing at all last season. He showed flashes of what he can do in 2014, ripping off a couple of long runs against Colorado State. If healthy, he could be one of the most explosive playmakers for the Utes this year. He looked good in spring practices, and showed versatility as both a runner and a pass catcher. His only downside is his small stature, although he doesn't shy away from contact.
Marcel Manalo- 5'11", 220 lbs, RS FR
Manalo had a scary start to his Utah career, as he was one of two players who fell victim to a shooting in 2015. Fortunately, both he and Lo Falemaka were able to make a full recovery and are both fully involved with the team again. Manalo put up monster numbers as a senior in high school (1972 yards, 10.2 YPC, 29 TDs), and showed some great potential in spring ball. He is a punishing runner, and possesses the speed to break away down the field and outrun everyone on his way to the endzone. He will likely push for a starting spot next year after Williams graduates, but as it is, he could see some carries this year as well.
Armand Shyne- 6'0", 200 lbs, SO
Shyne was a late commit to Utah's 2016 class, and will join the team for fall camp. He hails from the same junior college as Devontae Booker, and had a successful freshman season there, rushing for 734 yards and 8 TDs. On film, Shyne looks very similar to Booker. He has good vision, a punishing running style, and, like Booker, is fast, but doesn't appear to have breakaway speed. Shyne appears to have the talent to be able to work his way on to the field this year, but he'll be facing an uphill battle against the guys listed above.
Zack Moss- 5'10", 206 lbs, FR
Moss may be one of the most talented high school backs Utah has ever picked up. He does not look like an 18 year old football player, and is extremely well built. His film shows him to be very hard to bring down, along with having good vision, and good speed. He is a bruising back, but is also deceptively fast. If he breaks into the secondary, he's a threat to take it to the house on any given play. Originally I thought that Moss may be able to move up the depth chart and perhaps earn some carries as a true freshman, but he was recently diagnosed with stress fractures in both tibias, and may have to redshirt this year, depending on how long it takes him to recover. If he is healthy by the time fall camp starts, I expect him to make an impression.
Devontae Henry-Cole- 5'8", 168, FR
Henry-Cole is another extremely talented freshman who hails from Florida. He was on his way to a prolific season at St. Thomas Aquinas before being sidelined with a season-ending injury. Fully healthy now, he is a small back, like McCormick, but extremely well built. He's very shifty and speedy, and should be fun to watch. While I don't expect him to play this year, if he gets some reps in fall camp, he'll impress. I expect him to redshirt this year and put on a little more weight, but he appears to be McCormick's heir, and should be a big playmaker for the Utes in the future.
The problem with Utah is that there are only 10 or so kids that Texas and USC would even look at. If anything, it might help Utah because kids in the south would get more exposure to our state and we hopefully wouldn't seem so weird when we try to recruit them. I actually think moving the BYU/Utah game to the last game of the year would help us. If we are ranked going into that game, some Big 12 fans might watch (or a kid from Texas we are recruiting) to see how Utah plays vs BYU compared to how BYU played vs Texas or Oklahoma.
Not because BYU will be stealing all of the recruits, though they will certainly start getting their share of top in-state recruits. It will be because BigXII teams will start recruiting the state of Utah. When Utah joined the Pac-12 there was an immediate uptick in Pac-12 teams recruiting our state. I expect the BigXII will do the same if BYU gets invited.
It's hard enough for our coaches to fight off USC, UCLA, and Stanford. The job of keeping top recruits home will be twice as hard if we are having to beat out Oklahoma and Texas, too.
(NM) means No Message was included
in the post, so don't bother clicking on it.
On the internet, there are people called "Trolls" --
not because they look like monsters -- but because they troll around
different message boards, throwing out little baited
hooks hoping to get a bite from some eager fish. And
like any fisherman, the Trolls won't
stay very long if no one bites
UteFans.Net is not affiliated with the University of
Utah, except that the owner, operators and contributing members
are students, alumni,
and rabid fans of the U. Additionally,
the owner and operators of Utefans.Net are not responsible
for the actions of those who use this public forum. By contributing
forum you agree to abide by the Rules of Conduct outlined on
Post Message page.