The University of Utah running back room just got less crowded.
Within two hours Monday, junior Devin Brumfield and sophomore Jordan Wilmore both announced they have entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.
With the NCAA having frozen the eligibility clock for football players in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wilmore, the highest-rated running back recruit in program history, will have three years of eligibility remaining, and Brumfield two.
In the wake of Utah’s all-time leading rusher, Zack Moss, leaving for the NFL, Brumfield and Wilmore opened fall camp in October as the two primary options to get the majority of carries. As camp wound down, Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham made clear that it would be a running back-by-committee situation, at least early in the season.
Brumfield started the opener Nov. 21 vs. USC, but freshman Ty Jordan has emerged as the present and future of the position for the Utes. Jordan has exploded onto the scene with 441 yards, three touchdowns and a yards-per-carry average of 7.3. Brumfield had just 21 carries for 85 yards in four games, while Wilmore has been slowed by injury of late. In two games, he has just 18 carries for 64 yards.
“We’ve got four backs, who knows if you’ll be able to hold on to them all,” Whittingham said Monday morning, roughly three hours before the Brumfield transfer news broke. “When freshmen rise up and do well, upperclassmen sometimes get the notion that maybe they’re not in the plans, so we’ll see what happens with that position. We really like the position, we have four guys we’re confident in right now, and we’ll see what direction things go.”
Brumfield and Wilmore are the second and third Utah running backs, respectively, to transfer inside the last two months. After Whittingham made clear that TJ Green was the odd man out of the running back-by-committee approach, the redshirt sophomore entered the transfer portal on Oct. 20. He has since announced his intention to transfer to Liberty.
Utah plays Washington State on Saturday, and possibly a bowl game after that. Jordan will continue to get the bulk of the carries, with redshirt freshman Micah Bernard potentially spelling him. It is worth noting that, with the early signing period beginning Wednesday, Utah is expecting a national letter of intent from three-star Tampa prospect Ricky Parks.