“We can compete with anybody,” he said in a somewhat surprising statement. “We’ve got athletes in the backfield and we’re ready.”
The Utes return all five players who made starts last season, headlined by Rowe (6-foot-1, 205 pounds), who looks to become Utah’s best safety since the program boasted Eric Weddle, a 2006 consensus All-American and two-time conference defensive player of the year. Both were freshman All-Americans. Rowe even manned two safety spots prior to that 2011 season and was an All Pac-12 honorable mention last year.
Rowe may play some at strong safety, as he has experience.
Tevin Carter and Tyron Morris-Edwards are fighting for the lion’s share of time at strong safety.
Carter (6-foot-1, 213 pounds) originally signed with Cal in 2010 after being named a four-star receiver by Rivals and Scout out of Santee High (Calif.). He instead transferred to Los Angeles Southwest College, reportedly due to academic problems.
Because of Carter’s immense athletic ability, it’s probably no surprise that he was a 2011 and 2012 first-team all-conference safety.
A local player (Alta High) and former walk-on, Morris-Edwards (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) seeks to transform his two starts last season (BYU, UCLA) into something greater this fall. (It’s not his only transition: He came to Utah as a receiver.) The junior played in nine total games last season.
Early in spring ball, Whittingham said Carter needs to perform for Blechen to play at linebacker. Reports of Carter meeting the challenge and of Morris-Edwards’ impressive spring mean defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake should be expected to start either opposite Rowe, keeping Blechen at his new position.