The University of Utah will be missing its top receiving target for its biggest game of the season.
Dalton Kincaid, a fifth-year senior tight end who morphed into Cam Rising’s preferred target this fall, announced on Sunday evening that he will not play in the Rose Bowl vs. Penn State on Jan. 2. Citing an injury, Kincaid said on social media that his plan is to rehab and prepare for the NFL draft.
”I have cherished every single moment I have stepped in the football field, and my time at both Utah and USD is something I will hold in my heart forever,” Kincaid said in a statement. “I will never forget every drop of blood and sweat, every triumph, every tear shed, and every memory made. Throughout the journey as a football player, I have learned, and grown, and pushed myself to places I never thought possible. I have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and these bonds, and lessons, and relationships I know will last a lifetime.”
Kincaid leads Utah in catches (70), receiving yards (890) and receiving touchdowns (8). He began his career at the University of of San Diego, where he became an FCS All-American, then flourished after making the transition to Power Five football. In 31 career games, Kincaid had 107 catches for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns for an offense that generally uses its tight ends as legitimate pass-catching options.
After Utah’s other All-Pac-12 pass-catching tight end, Brant Kuithe, was lost for the season at Arizona State on Sept. 24 due to a torn ACL, Kincaid answered the call. His 16 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown on Oct. 15 helped fuel a home upset of USC, and 11 catches for 99 yards nearly got the Utes over the hump at Oregon on Nov. 19.
All of this came at a cost. Kincaid injured his shoulder late in the third quarter at Washington State on Oct 27, missed the entire fourth quarter, then sat the following week vs. Stanford.
In the regular-season finale at Colorado on Nov. 26, Rising’s third and final touchdown pass against the Buffaloes, a 29-yard toss to Kincaid in the back of the end zone late in the first half, was marred when Kincaid landed hard. He stayed down for an extended period of time before getting up gingerly. Kincaid was able to walk to the locker room under his own power, albeit surrounded by medical personnel. His day was done at that point after five catches for 102 yards and the touchdown.
Kincaid played in the Pac-12 championship game, finishing with four catches for 40 yards. It is unclear if the injury Kincaid cited on Sunday is related to the injury suffered at Colorado.
From a Rose Bowl standpoint, losing Kincaid is a crusher given his output, plus the fact Utah like to go with two- and three-tight end sets much of the time. Fifth-year junior tight end Thomas Yassmin has had a breakout season, catching 12 passes for 300 yards and five touchdowns. The Australian, whose background is in rugby and had never played American football before arriving at Utah in 2018, had two catches for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Pac-12 championship game.