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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Hays eager to compete for backup QB role

Details on the Utes' Red-White game are on the Utes' website. I expect the offense to be under some scrutiny after Monday's scrimmage.

Meanwhile, I caught up with Jon Hays, the quarterback who is expected to compete with Griff Robles and Tyler Shreve for the backup role.

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Hays has no problem coming to Utah and proving he deserves a shot at being the Utes' backup quarterback.

After what he has been through, he is just happy to have a football field on which to play.

Hays, who will join the Utes in June once his NCAA paperwork is completed, was going to play for Nebraska-Omaha following a two-year stint at Butte College. But he suddenly was left without a team when Nebraska-Omaha announced in March it was dropping football as it part of its transition to Division I.

Hays had to start his recruiting process all over again. He gave Minnesota some consideration, but quickly settled on the Utes thanks to connections between his coach and offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

"It wasn't even much of a decision for me because I'm from the Bay area and Utah has a lot of legitimacy as a Top 25 program for years now," he said. "Coach Whitt has got a special thing going out there now and adding Norm Chow to the mix is exciting."

The 6-1, 210 Hays prepped at Paradise High in Calif. He wasn't recruited much out of high school but said he has grown as a player and believes he can compete for the No. 2 spot.

"They told me they need a solid backup and I'm going to do what I can to be that guy," he said. "Going to Butte helped me a lot, I've done a lot in the pro style system and watching film every day and the coaching was great. I'm miles from where I was as a player."

Hays said he is eager to get to Utah and finally get his playing back on track.

"I'm going to come in and take what reps they give me and let the coaches decide where they want to put me," he said. "I'm just excited to get out there and compete."



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