The Utes could be in danger of losing assistant head coach and offensive line coach Jim Harding to the NFL, according to a report from the Sporting News.
Sporting News NFL columnist Alex Marvez reported that the Cincinnati Bengals have interviewed Harding for their offensive line coach position.
Harding has ties to the state of Ohio. He is a native of Maumee, Ohio, and played his entire four-year collegiate career as a starting lineman for the University of Toledo from 1997-2000.
Harding has been a member of the Utah staff since 2014 as offensive line coach. He also served as co-offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016. He was elevated to assistant head coach after the 2016 season. His offensive lines have been the cornerstone of the program’s offensive success in recent years, featuring prolific rushing attacks.
The Utes’ 2016 offensive line produced four NFL Draft picks including Garett Bolles, the first-round selection of the Denver Broncos. Bolles stepped in and started for the Broncos as a rookie. Isaac Asiata (Miami Dolphins), J.J. Dielman (Cincinnati) and Sam Tevi (Los Angeles Chargers) were each also drafted this past spring.
Utes senior guard Salesi Uhatafe earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors this past season after moving from right guard to left guard in his final season. Uhafate has accepted an invitation to play in this year’s East-West Shrine Game, a showcase for potential NFL draft picks.
Prior to Utah, Harding coached the University of Wyoming’s offensive line from 2009 through 2013. He served as Wyoming’s run game coordinator in 2012 and was co-offensive coordinator in 2013.