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Say goodbye to Brother Covey, Utah football’s most beloved figure

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Los Angeles • New Year’s Day was a big deal in the UK. Covey grew up indoors.

He remembers it as the only day of the year when his mother, Jeri, let his father, Stephen, watch football completely guilt-free. Jeri will bring Stephen snacks, and England will go back to his dad and watch the Rose Bowl, forever and always the 3pm MT opening game in Pasadena.

Aside from hanging out with his dad, what caught Covey’s attention about the Rose Bowls when he was a kid is that they always included, as he puts it, “the main announcers.” Announcers you may have heard on the old NCAA Football series of video games announced the Rose Bowls when Covey was a kid, which gave the impression that the game was important. Those announcers made Covey feel the Rose Bowl was the Game.

When Utah takes on Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, alongside ABC/ESPN’s Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, New Year’s Day takes on new meaning. Of course he’ll play in his first Rose Bowl, the first for the football show in Utah, but New Year’s Day will also signal a goodbye when Covey plays his final college game. he.

Covey announced on December 10 that he will skip his final season to qualify support his photography at the NFL. He’s leaving college as an all-time Ute, not just a multi-time American, not just one of the best, most dynamic comeback pros in show history, not just one of the show’s career leaders. – purpose yard, but is one of the likable, sociable characters, more cheerful when wearing the Utah uniform. If someone speaks badly of a Provo native, it can happen the first time.

It’s not one thing to speak ill of Covey, but to make fun of his age? Yes, it’s a long tradition, on which Covey, for his credit, has relied, with the media, with his teammates and on social media. Covey will turn 25 on March 18.

“He’s done a lot for us as a position receiver, as a football returnee, as a starter returnee,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said in Friday morning during a joint press conference with Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day. “He’s meant a lot to our show over the past 12 years or no matter how long he’s been here.”

“I think off the pitch, what I’ll remember about him is just his personality,” said All-Pac-12 offensive team Nick Ford. “He looks like a 50-year-old with a mortgage and kids and insurance, but he acts like a 15-year-old. So just his personality, just dancing around the dressing room. Stuff like that.”

The pedestrian added Nephi Sewell: “Old man, my father. He’s really funny for such a short and small person. “

Covey may be just 5 feet 8, 170 pounds, but he was noticed by Sewell when they were both high school players. Sewell remembers Covey as an underage kid, who he thought was really good at playing the lead for Timpview. Sewell was two years behind Covey in high school while playing for the Desert Hills in St. George. As Sewell watched TV highlights, Covey’s latest feats would always come up.

“I really am the type [a] his fanboy before I came here [in 2019]”Sewell said.

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

Sewell is not alone in his Covey fandom after the latter burst onto the scene in 2015 as a returnee and All-American Freshman punt recipient. He led Utah that season with 43 catches for 519 yards and his teammate led four touchdowns as the Utes won a piece in the Pac-12 South title for the first time.

That season, his entire college career spanning 47 games after the Rose Bowl, even aspects of his life were under the microscope. The grandson of the great Stephen Covey, known as the author of the best-selling book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” he went on a two-year LDS mission in Chile after freshman season, back in 2018.

Off duty, Covey played 2018 at a high level, making 60 passes from 637 yards, accumulating 809 yards over scenario, plus another 365 passes between catch and down . In that season’s Pac-12 championship game, a 10-3 loss to Utah to Washington, he tore the ACL and meniscus in his right knee, which he later had surgery on.

That night in Santa Clara became a pivotal moment as part of a career spanning seven years and five seasons thanks to the mission and the COVID-19 pandemic providing an extra year of eligibility.

“They’re part of the game, everyone’s been through some kind of trauma at some point,” Covey said. “Without those injuries, I wouldn’t be as prepared as I am now. I’ve spent this entire season on injury prevention, and, man, I wish I’d done it three years ago because that’s all people do. I talk to all my ‘U’ boys in the league, that’s all they do. “

Covey has recuperated himself, attempting to return to his health for the 2019 season to be part of what is seen as a dynamic, heavy-duty offense for veterans. Covey, though, is not healthy. He played in four games before taking a red shirt, he then said that, in hindsight, he was playing those games at 70-75% health.

In 2020, the pandemic and hamstring injury limited Covey.

Those struggles have made this season all the more memorable.

Covey has had his share of moments, many of which were able to make fans go crazy on command, without even taking a breath. The newly crowned champion in that sport was his 78-yard return to close the first half against Oregon on November 20.

“I think that probably going back to horse racing in Oregon is probably going to be the biggest one,” said Ford. “Going to that sideline and almost stepping out, but he knows where his body is and where the margins are. It just shows what a good athlete he is.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah wide receiver England Covey (18 years old) returns an Oregon hit for a Ute touchdown at half-time, during PAC-12 action between Utah Utes and Oregon Ducks. At Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, on Saturday, November 20, 2021.

Covey also admits a new fondness for that stadium-shaking moment with the Ducks, but if you asked him about standout moments in his career, he’d point to a comeback. other punt that is unlikely to bring in the average fan.

In 2020, after missing the USC game and being confined to Washington with a hamstring injury, Covey remained fit for the December game against Oregon State at the empty, impacted Rice-Eccles Stadium. by COVID. In the first seconds of the fourth round, Covey hit a clean shot at Utah’s 34-yard line. He immediately shifted to the right to avoid an ankle touch, moved up, avoided one more defender, cut to the left and disappeared, untouched, 66 yards to the final zone. .

Covey admits that there is now doubt after the knee injury that he can be a player like him. He got injured, rehab, played too soon, sidelined, sidelined a bit thanks to COVID in 2020, then had a hamstring problem.

All of that gives Covey plenty of time to consider where his career is and where it might go, if anywhere.

“Yes, there were doubts. It’s something that I struggle with on a daily basis, and I think anyone who says it’s without a doubt gets it out of their minds because they’re afraid they’re going to start focusing on it,” Covey said. . “There was doubt, and I struggled with it, so I’m glad they stuck with me and gave me more opportunities.”

“…I started to wonder if I could ever come back,” Covey said. “It is confidence that I can still do it. It’s one of those plays that not many people think about, but it’s been one of my most influential plays of the past two years. ”

However, Covey’s impact goes far beyond that. When Covey talks in public, he feels comfortable with the camera and microphone in his face. He’s open, honest, and generally transparent, but he’ll also give you a little irritation and a little sarcasm. He is comfortable with who he is, which has made him a leader in the Utes dressing room.

“His attitude, his personality was just contagion among his teammates,” Whittingham said. “One of the best leaders ever to come to the University of Utah. Obviously an outstanding player on the pitch. ”

Covey will play one more time for Utah. If the Utes win the pitch at the Rose Bowl, they are likely to receive the ball, and then Covey will line up at the line to start the biggest game of his life, in front of a worldwide audience.

That moment will be his, a new Rose Bowl memory for the Covey family.

https://www.sltrib.com/sports/utah-utes/2022/01/01/rose-bowl-saying-goodbye/ Say goodbye to Brother Covey, Utah football’s most beloved figure

Beth Allcock

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