Brant Kuithe’s decision against the NFL (again) was a surprise. This is why the tight ending of Utes is making a comeback.


A three-time All-Pac-12 selection in tight close, Kuithe announced Thursday that he will be returning as a fifth-year senior

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brant Kuithe during a Rose Bowl media session in Los Angeles, California, on Tuesday, December 28, 2021.

Los Angeles • Utes Brant Kuithe’s tight finish surprised a lot of Utah football fans last week when he announced he would return as a 5th-year student in 2022.

At last, Kuithe flirted with leaving the NFL a year ago, then had an All-Pac-12 season later this season when the Utes won the Pac-12 and overcame their first Rose Bowl.

By the time Kuithe made his announcement on Thursday, seven other Utes had announced for the NFL Draft. But it was those who were about to return that convinced Kuithe to stick around for another year.

“Throughout the season, I was on the frontier the whole time,” Kuithe said Tuesday morning during a Rose Bowl media session ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Ohio State. “After winning the Pac-12, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I know I have an extra year of eligibility. I knew I could be back in a year, hit the right goals and do the same things, maybe even get to the Playoffs.

“I think it’s a possibility, especially when Cam (Rising) comes back. I had to think about it a lot. I talked to my family, and I decided to come back to see if we could do the same thing this year, maybe more.”

Kuithe has previously said that much of his rationale for returning in 2021 stems from the fact that Utah has only had one five-game 2020 season, which has been severely impacted by COVID-19. . Kuithe wants a normal, full 12-game season. Instead, he gets 14 games, capped by one of the highest bowl games in the country.

Kuithe’s second and latest decision on the NFL Draft is rooted in what he wants, not what he wants, but what he thinks could happen in 2022.

The three-time All-Pac-12 pick noted Utah’s 1-2 start this season, but then quickly pivoted to the fact that Rising’s arrival in late September immediately spurred a race for the congress title. Finally, Kuithe is ready to dive into the big unknowns of this season, what Utah could be this season if Rising is the one starting September 2 against Weber State.

There will never be an answer to that, but Kuithe will return to find out as Rising, prevent something unforeseen, will open the spring episode in March as the start up without a doubt.

“You see how that year went by, I think if we had Cam right away we would probably be undefeated,” Kuithe said. “This season is off to a slow start, there are a lot of questions. You can’t go back and say things will be different, but I think it will. Having him in midfield for another year, with the guys we’ve got back in, we can do a little bit better. “

The day after Kuithe’s announcement, another All-Pac-12 tight finish, Dalton Kincaid, announced he would return in 2022, giving Rising two of his top catch picks. back for another season. The third member of Utah’s fully loaded cramped room this fall, Cole Fotheringham, is one of seven Utes scheduled to enter the NFL Draft.

“We talked the whole time,” said Kuithe. “I told him I was staying, so let’s run it back. I know he does too, so that’s great.”

Devin Lloyd focuses on Ohio State, but the NFL draft isn’t done yet

There is little, if any doubt, that Devin Lloyd will play in Rose bowl. That’s notable after several key Ohio State players, including expected first-round recipients Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, opted out Monday.

Like Wilson and Olave, Lloyd, Utes all-round American defender and this season’s Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, was a tentative pick in the first round.

If Lloyd chooses not to get involved in favor of preparing for the NFL Combine, no one will falter, but Lloyd wants to finish what he started, even as his future starts to come into focus post-match. match on Saturday.

“I talked to a few guys about what was going to happen in the future, but I didn’t spend a lot of time on it,” says Lloyd. Monday afternoon after a group event at Disneyland. “It’s short, just because I’m focused on getting this season right and finishing my career on a high note.”

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been unafraid over the past year to believe that Lloyd decided to return to school this fall for a 12-game season will help him evolved into the first round pick. That idea seems to be about to become a reality.

ESPN NFL Draft coach Mel Kiper now has Lloyd placed in the 8th overall pick and the top secondary quarterback in the table. ESPN’s other NFL Draft expert, Todd McShay, now has Lloyd as the 14th overall pick.

Lloyd is bidding to become the eighth first pick in Utah history, and the first since Garrett Boles was selected for the 20th time in 2017.

“I have some expectations about what will happen in the future,” said Lloyd. “Obviously I’m really excited about that, I’m really excited about my future, but for now, I’m focused on Ohio State.”

Tribune will update this story. Brant Kuithe’s decision against the NFL (again) was a surprise. This is why the tight ending of Utes is making a comeback.

Beth Allcock

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