Sports

Transfer portal swings both ways for Utes football ahead of deadline

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham walks onto the field prior to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — The college football world has been a whirlwind in recent weeks as athletes around the country attempt to find a better location for themselves through the transfer portal.

Since Aug. 1, approximately 2,500 athletes have entered their name into the portal, of which many have found a new home; but more than not, many are still waiting for a destination (if they find one at all).

The NCAA now allows athletes one free transfer to any school without having to sit out a season, but they must enter their name into the portal by May 1 to be eligible for the following fall season. As a result, there’s been an increase in the number of players entering the portal from the University of Utah, like many programs around the country, ahead of the deadline.

Although the portal serves as an opportunity for athletes to find a destination where there’s more playing time available to them, it’s also not a guarantee, as well.

In Utah’s case, the increase in portal activity for Ute players is not unusual, even if there has been more activity this year than before.

As the program continues to build its depth and increase its talent pool (largely due to its recent success on the field), it leaves some players without a lot of playing opportunities. The coaching staff has honest conversations with each player on the roster and informs them on where they stand on the depth chart to help them make a decision for the future.

Additionally, each college football program is required to have no more than 85 scholarship players on a roster; but with the NCAA granting an additional year of eligibility to all players affected by COVID-19, it pushed Utah over the limit of players allowed by the NCAA.

Utah has had several players enter their name into the portal since Aug. 1, with most coming before the May 1 deadline. More could still be in the works as just a “written request” must be filed before May 1 to be eligible for the next season. Once in the portal, a player is eligible to be picked up by another team ahead of the fall season.

With the amount of players that left the program, Utah has some space to bring others from the portal into the program, though that remains to be seen.

With the deadline now past, here’s a look at where Utah stands:

Former Utes that entered the portal:

  • Charlie Brewer, Quarterback (Announced Oct. 14)
  • Simi Moala, Offensive Line (Announced Oct. 27)
  • Peter Costelli, Quarterback (Announced Nov. 23)
  • Xavier Carlon, Defense End (Jan. 3)
  • Jeremy Mercier, linebacker (Jan. 6)
  • Dominique Thompson, Wide Receiver (Jan. 24)
  • Lacarea Pleasant-Johnson, Cornerback (Feb. 1)
  • Luke Felix-Fualalo, Offensive Tackle (Announced April 7)
  • Ryan Peppins, Wide Receiver (Announced April 15)
  • Ben Renfro, Wide Receiver/Safety (Announced April 27)
  • Kamo’i Latu, Safety (Announced April 28)
  • Marist Talavou, Offensive Line (Announced April 28)
  • Carson Tabaracci, Linebacker (Announced April 28)
  • Kyrese Rowan, Wide Receiver (Announced April 28)
  • Cameron Peasley, Punter (Announced April 29)
  • Drew Rawls, Cornerback (Announced April 30)
  • Jonny Fanaika, Defensive End (Announced May 2)

Joining Utah from the portal

  • Logan Kendall, Tight End, Idaho (Announced Dec. 12)
  • Landon Morris, Tight End, Syracuse (Announced Dec. 13 — Joined in spring)
  • Mohamoud Diabate, Linebacker, Florida (Announced Jan. 4 — Joined in spring)
  • Gabe Reid, Linebacker, Stanford (Announced March 2)
  • Clayton Isbell, Safety, Illinois State (Announced March 27)

Josh is the Sports Director for KSL.com and beat writer of University of Utah athletics — primarily football, men’s basketball and gymnastics. He is also an Associated Press Top 25 voter for college football.

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