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Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

Ranking the most important players for the success of the Utah Utes in 2014 (11 items)

By , For the Deseret News

Aug. 11, 2014

Camp is finally under way for Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and the University of Utah football team. This time around expectations are high as the Utes try to reverse their fortunes from the previous two seasons when they failed to reach a bowl game or even a .500 record.

If the Utes are to get over the hump in a very difficult Pac-12 this season they are going to need to have plenty of players step up in a big way. This list ranks the most important Utah players to the success of the team this season. These guys will have the most impact of anyone on whether the Utes go bowling for the first time in three years.

Here is a look at the most important players for Utah to have a successful season in 2014.

1 of 11. 11. Bubba Poole, junior, running back

Poole led the Utes in rushing in 2013 with 607 yards and two touchdowns on 149 attempts. He is also the only player from a group of balanced running backs returning. For the Utes to have success, he needs to provide big plays and plenty of leadership for the incoming backs. After all, he knows the ropes and exactly what it means to compete in one of the best conferences in the country.

2 of 11. 10. Davion Orphey, senior, cornerback

The Utes return a great deal of talent in the secondary and they will need all of it to compete against a litany of talented quarterbacks. He put up solid numbers in his first season on the field with Utah (33 tackles and five passes defended), and needs to do more of the same for the Utes to return to a bowl game.

3 of 11. 9. Tevin Carter, senior, safety

Carter was expected to make an impact for the Utes after he signed in 2013, but ended up spending the year at El Camino College finishing up some academic requirements, leaving him with just one year of eligibility at Utah. With the move of Eric Rowe to cornerback, Carter will need to step in and make big plays in the opponents' running and passing game for the Utes to have any kind of success in the upcoming season.

4 of 11. 8. Brian Blechen, senior, safety

Like Carter, Blechen is a senior who wasn't on the field in 2013. He is a hard-hitting safety with the nose for the football and he has the ability to make every play on defense when he is at the top of his game. For the Utes to climb up the ladder in the Pac-12 South and survive the dual-threat quarterbacks who are all over their schedule this season that is exactly where he needs to be.

5 of 11. 7. Kenneth Scott, junior, wide receiver

After a solid sophomore campaign, expectations were high for Scott going into the 2013 season, but he lasted less than a quarter before he suffered a season-ending injury. With that loss, the Utes had only one real weapon in the passing game in 2013. Now that he is back to full strength, he will need to take the pressure off of Dres Anderson and give Travis Wilson another reliable option in the passing game.

1. Andy
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
Aug. 11, 2014

That's a lot of talent. We need it all and some lucky bounces to go our way.

GO UTES!!

2. Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah,
Aug. 11, 2014

Good list, but I would go with these three first:

1. Wilson - We haven't had an healthy QB or a legit backup since 2008
2. Booker - We need a consistent run game that was missing last year, I think he will be the feature back this year
3. Row - Needs to step up and become our next "shutdown" corner

3. VegasUte
Las Vegas, NV,
Aug. 13, 2014

I don't have a problem at all with the list as is. Travis is the most important player on the team, but if his protector can't protect him, he can't be effective.

Two weeks!!

Go Utes!!