It’s official: No. 9 on your upcoming Utah football roster is Darren Carrington II.
The Utah football team announced Monday that Carrington is officially eligible to play for the Utes in 2017 after the Pac-12 Faculty Athletic Representatives’ Committee approved the transfer of the former Oregon wide receiver.
The committee green-lighted the waiver of the “Intra-Conference Transfer Penalty,” meaning the 22-year-old won’t have to sit out a year.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said following Monday’s practice that Carrington was absent from practice because the wideout is “taking care of some last-minute business.” Whittingham added Carrington should be back practicing by Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Obviously he’s a guy that can help us this year, and he’ll figure into our plans prominently,” Whittingham said.
Utah now has a former All-Pac-12 wideout to implement in its brand-new spread-offense style attack under new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor. The 6-foot-2 senior from San Diego, Calif., was dismissed from the Oregon program by new Ducks coach Willie Taggart on July 14 after being charged with a DUII on July 1.
The Oregonian later reported that Carrington pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges. The episode in Eugene, Ore., was the last in a series of run-ins with the law. When on the field, however, Carrington was undoubtedly one of Oregon’s top playmakers. He had 1,919 yards receiving and 112 catches during his career as a Duck. He led Oregon in receiving yards (606) and was tied for the team lead in touchdowns caught with five a year ago.
Utah’s newest wideout will not face further discipline stemming from his exit at Oregon, Whittingham confirmed.
“That was the plan going in,” Whittingham said. “That was laid out up front. I made sure that he knew that if he comes here that it’s a fresh start in all ways. But obviously there’s higher expectations because of what’s transpired in the past.”
Carrington enrolled at Utah and was present on Day 1 of preseason camp. He has not been made available to the media and won’t be for the duration of camp. He has adapted well, according to his teammates. Fellow wideout Siaosi Wilson called it “a huge addition.”
Quarterback Troy Williams said the chemistry between he and Carrington is moving forward, too.
Taylor, who was dubbed “the catalyst” in Carrington picking Utah according to the wide receiver’s father, said much of the same.
“He’s been great,” Taylor said. “He’s just been a pleasure. He’s a bright kid, he’s positive and he’s a really hard worker, and I heard that about him. He’s a great competitor, a fearless competitor and I’ve seen all those things. A kid that’s been a great teammate.”
Carrington will be featured as a primary go-to threat on the outside for the Utes.
“He’s a talented guy,” Taylor said. “He’s just got a great confidence-level. He creates separation and he’s got big hands — huge hands — incredible ball skills. He’s a special guy.”
No timetable on QB No. 1
This isn’t exactly breaking news.
Williams and Tyler Huntley have separated themselves, Whittingham said Monday. Cottonwood High product and Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman is “not getting nearly as many as the other two,” Utah’s coach added.
Asked if there’s a timetable to name his starting quarterback, Whittingham said, “No real timetable, but we’d like to hopefully get down to two guys taking reps sometime next week. I think that’d be ideal and name the starter shortly thereafter.”
Hansen improving, Afia rising
Utah remains without one of its most indispensable players in junior strong safety Chase Hansen. Hansen, Utah’s leading tackler in 2016, has yet to practice while dealing with an undisclosed injury.
“Chase is making a ton of progress and we hope to get him back soon,” Whittingham said.
In his absence, sophomore defensive back Phillip Afia has been impressive in the free safety role with Corion Ballard shifting over to strong safety with Hansen sidelined.
“You talk about maybe the most improved player on the team, he would certainly be in the running for that honor,” Whittingham said about Afia. “He’s done a nice job.”