Utah Depth Chart Analysis- Special Teams

Publisher
Posted Jul 1, 2010


The Special Teams depth chart is based on performance coming out of spring ball, incoming arrivals, and expectations going into fall camp.

Fr* (Redshirt Freshman)

Punter

Sean Sellwood (So), Nick Marsh (Fr*)

Sellwood was on of the top punters in the conference last season averaging almost 43 yards per kick and was rewarded with freshman All-American honors by multiple sources. His ability to pin opponents deep in their own end, as he did by putting 19 balls inside the 20 yard line in 2009, makes him a tremendous asset. Look for Sellwood to be on the short list for the Ray Guy Award, handed out to the nation’s top punter. Nick Marsh will serve as his backup.

Place Kicker

Joe Phillips (Sr), Nick Marsh (Fr*)

Senior kicker Joe Phillips, a Lou Groza award semifinalist, returns as one of the top kickers in the country. Phillips led the Mountain West Conference in 2009 in field goal accuracy converting 20 of 22 kicks for 90.9% success rate. A real weapon for the Utes. Nick Marsh will serve as his backup.

Kickoffs

Nick Marsh (Fr*), Joe Phillips (Sr)

The strong legged Marsh returns make his debut after redshirting in 2009, following a suspension. Joe Phillips will fill in during emergency situations.

Long Snapper

Patrick Greene (So), Chad Manis (Sr)

Patrick Greene returns as one of the premier long-snappers in the conference. Jack-of-all-trades Chad Manis serves as his backup.

Holder

Sean Sellwood (So), DeVonte Christopher (So)

Punter Sean Sellwood also serves as the holder with receiver DeVonte Christopher as the backup.

Punt Returns

Shaky Smithson (Sr), Griffin McNabb (Fr.*)

The Utes are looking good in the punt return game with Shaky Smithson taking over the role full-time. Smithson averaged 9.5 yards per punt return in 2009 in limited action but will look to improve upon that number as he gets more opportunities.

Kickoff Returns

Shaky Smithson (Sr), DeVonte Christopher (So), Jereme Brooks (Sr)

Smithson will also be returning kickoffs as the number 1 option after a breakout season doing so in 2009 where he averaged almost 25 yards per return including a 61 yarder. Devonte Christopher will be opposite Smithson and should receive a few opportunities should teams choose to kick away from Smithson.

Summary:

The Utes have one of the top special teams units in the country. The kicking duo of Sellwood and Phillips rivals that of most every school out there and will make the difference in tight games. Sellwood and Phillips are reliable and consistent; the most important traits for punters and kickers in the college game.

The return game is in the hands of the electrifying Smithson who will get a chance to be the main man in both punt and kick return situations, and bring back the Utes’ first kick return for a touchdown since Derrek Richards in 2007. Expect him to do just that. The Utes special teams should be the best in the conference in 2010.


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