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Former Utah quarterback Lee Grosscup, credited as the originator of the famed 'shovel pass,’ dies at age 83

(Tribune file photo) Lee Grosscup demonstrates passing at a nearby playground in 1958.

Once credited for developing the shovel pass, former University of Utah quarterback Lee Grosscup died on Monday evening at the age of 83. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Grosscup, a Santa Monica, Calif. native, began his college career at the University of Washington in 1955. After transferring to Santa Monica College in 1956, Grosscup played the 1957 and 1958 seasons at Utah.

In 1957, Grossman finished 10th in Heisman Trophy voting after completing 69% of his passes for 1,398 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“The Utah Football Family was saddened to hear of the passing of legendary Utah Football player Lee Grosscup,” Ute coach Kyle Whittingham said Wednesday on Twitter. “Lee was a first-team All-American QB for the Utes in 1957 and the originator of the famed ‘Utah Shovel Pass’. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”

(Tribune file photo) Lee Grosscup.

Al Michaels once famously credited Grosscup with developing the shovel pass or “Utah pass,” although Grosscup said publicly the pass was used decades earlier, as early as the 1920s as the forward pass was gaining popularity in the sport.

Grosscup was selected 10th overall by the New York Giants in the 1959 NFL Draft. He played three seasons in the NFL before playing parts of three others seasons in the AFL and CFL.

This story will be updated.

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