Utes add a junior college linebacker in a continuing effort to build depth

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Linebackers coach Colton Swan at University of Utah football practice in Salt Lake City on Tuesday March 26, 2019. In his first year on the staff, Swan reportedly will have two transfers in his group in preseason camp, Mique Juarez of UCLA and Trennan Carlson of Ventura College.

Junior college linebacker Trennan Carlson has become the fifth scholarship player added to Utah’s football roster since spring practice ended in mid-April, as the coaching staff continues to address the Utes’ depth at certain positions.

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Carlson, from Ventura (Calif.) College, announced his commitment Saturday, joining UCLA graduate transfer Mique Juarez in Utah’s linebacking group. As with Juarez, the addition of Carlson helps solidify the defense in 2020, when the Utes will be replacing Manny Bowen and Francis Bernard, who are projected to start this season as seniors.

Carlson was a late signee because he had to complete academic requirements at Ventura. He intends to join Utah’s program for summer workouts and enroll in the the second half of the summer semester that begins June 20, according to 247Sports. UCLA, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State reportedly also pursued Carlson.

Devin Lloyd and Sione Lund played as the primary backups to Bowen and Bernard in the spring, when coach Kyle Whittingham spoke often about the need to develop more depth at linebacker and on the offensive line. The linebacking needs surfaced when Donavan Thompson entered the NCAA transfer portal and Bryant Pirtle left the program.

Based on the players’ announcements, the Utes have added graduate transfers Alex Locklear of Marshall and Noah Osur-Myers to the offensive line. Andrew Strauch, from UCLA, will compete for the kicking job when preseason camp begins July 31.