Two months remain until Utah makes its football season debut against Utah State. But the Utes are already thinner at wide receiver.
Receiver Quinton Pedroza was dismissed from Utah for a violation of team rules, university officials told The Salt Lake Tribune. The 6-foot-2 California native had been poised to have a big junior season in Dennis Erickson's new pass-oriented offense.
Instead, this could turn out to be a big loss. Pedroza played sparingly in his first two years in the program, mostly on special teams. However, by running better routes and maturing physically, he emerged from spring practice as a starter, along with Dres Anderson and Kenneth Scott.
Pedroza entered the program two years ago and immediately turned heads with his physical ability. He seemed to be on the cusp of turning his potential into actual production. Not only was he a projected starter heading into preseason camp, but he was also the leading candidate to replace Reggie Dunn as Utah's primary kickoff returner.
Now, Anderson and Scott head into the season as the only two proven components of the wide receiver group. Anthony Denham will be asked to take on a bigger role, as will redshirt freshman Brian Allen. Junior college receiver Andre Lewis comes to the Utes with athletic ability and promise.
He will be asked to acclimate to the system a little faster. The good news is that he's already on campus, attending summer school and participating in team workouts.
Overall, the receivers group had a lot of work to do in order to improve from last year, especially with an offense that's widely expected to be much more wide open than the last two seasons.