SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah football will wrap up their spring portion of the off-season with their annual red-black (or white) game on Saturday.
6,500 fans will fill Rice-Eccles Stadium to watch the spring game that will feature some of the young and talented players that Utah football has to offer.
Heading into the Utah spring game, here are five things to watch for during the scrimmage on Saturday.
Watch For The Three Quarterbacks In Spring Game
The quarterback that has received the most hype since Tyler Huntley is Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer. He will suit up on Saturday for the red team and will have Texas transfer Ja’Quinden Jackson as his backup. Those two plus 2021 recruit Peter Costelli on the black team are the three quarterbacks to keep an eye on.
Brewer has received a ton of praise and hype from Kyle Whittingham, assistant coaches and players during spring football for his performance. It will be Utah fans’ first chance to see Brewer in action. This will make for a tremendous quarterback competition with Cameron Rising in the fall.
Don’t discount Costelli or Jackson. Those two will be having battles for the third quarterback spot and are the Utah signal callers of the future. Will be fun to see how they perform in this type of setting.
Young Utah Secondary With More Experience
Going into the 2020 season, the position group(s) with the most concern in preseason was the secondary. With all of the starters from the 2019 team gone to either graduation or the NFL, it was a clean slate for the secondary. The newcomers and new starters performed really well last season and gained some valuable experience without losing any eligibility.
Clark Phillips III, Aaron Lowe, Faybian Marks, LaCarea Pleasant-Johnson and Kenzel Lawler will be the cornerbacks for the black team, along with safeties Stone Azarcon, Nick Billoups, Cole Bishop and Vonte Davis. For the red team, keep an eye out for JaTravis Broughton, Malone Mataele, Drew Rawls and Zemaiah Vaughn at the corner position. The safeties will be Dakota Hansen, R.J. Hubert, Kamo’i Latu and Bleu Stewart.
Vonte Davis is the only starter in the secondary that is a senior so the future is obviously bright for this group moving forward.
Utah Wide Receiver Group
Lots of questions surround the wide receiver group after Samson Nacua (BYU) and Bryan Thompson (Arizona State) left the program. Then the sudden departure of WR’s coach Guy Holliday. They received great news that Jaylen Dixon was returning after spending time in the transfer portal and Britain Covey is fully healthy and Solomon Enis has tremendous potential.
It’s unlikely that Covey and Enis will play a ton in the spring game, which will allow the younger guys to shine. Ben Renfro moved over from safety to wide receiver to fill some depth issues during spring football as did Caine Savage from cornerback to receiver. Renfro is on the red team and Savage is on the black team.
Devaughn Vele has received some high praise from Kyle Whittingham during spring ball. He is on the red team. Other guys to watch for on the black team, includes freshman Makai Cope and Money Parks. It will be interesting to see how these guys perform after a full spring ball under new receivers coach Chad Bumphis.
Running Backs Will Put On Show In Spring Game
It will be a day of the running backs on Saturday. The football team will wear special helmets to honor the life of Ty Jordan, who tragically passed away on Christmas night in Denton, Texas. Utah has three running backs that will surely be entertaining to watch on Saturday, including the No. 1 RB Micah Bernard. He is the only player on scholarship from last season at running back that is returning in 2021.
Bernard and LSU transfer Chris Curry are on the red team for the spring game. Curry is battling for the No. 1 spot along with Oklahoma transfer and black team member T.J. Pledger.
It sounds like it will be a “running back by committee” approach again for Kiel McDonald’s group heading into fall camp. Will be fun to see if any of the three (and Ricky Parks when he arrives in the summer) will emerge going into the 2021 season.
One of the rich traditions in Utah football history is the defensive line depth. The 2021 team is no different. Defensive end Mika Tafua will not play in the spring game and it’s likely that Maxs Tupai will play limited reps. That leaves star freshmen Xavier Carlton and Van Fillinger to take over the spotlight as edge rushers.
Tyler Wegis, Elijah Shelton, Miki Suguturaga and Jonny Fanaika will also be some names to watch for on Saturday.
The spring game will kickoff at noon MDT on Saturday, April 16 and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports. You can download and listen to the podcast, here.