Utah Utes

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 10: Wide receiver Trevor Davis #9 of the California Golden Bears catches a touchdown pass in front of Cory Butler-Byrd #16 of the Utah Utes during their game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Getty Images

Cory Butler-Byrd ‘partially reinstated’ by Utah

Leave a comment

And Cory Butler-Byrd‘s trek out of Kyle Whittingham‘s doghouse has officially commenced in earnest.

Monday, the Utah wide receiver pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal in connection to an incident last month in which he allegedly damaged police property.  The criminal mischief charge will be dismissed if he, among other stipulations, stays clean for the next year.

Butler-Byrd had been indefinitely suspended from the program since the initial incident.  Tuesday, the football program announced in a press release that “Whittingham has reinstated Cory Butler-Byrd to the team for practice and other team activities, effective immediately.”  However, he remains indefinitely suspended from participating in games.

“There is no timetable for his potential return to competition and he will not be available to the media for comment this season,” the release added.

After transferring to the Utes from the junior college ranks, Butler-Byrd began his FBS career as a cornerback.  He began the transition to receiver during the 2015 season, then exited spring practice this year as the starter as a slot receiver for the Utes.

Butler-Byrd started five games last season as a corner/receiver (three at CB, two at WR), intercepting three passes and catching one pass for a 54-yard touchdown.  He also returned eight kicks for 233 yards and a touchdown.

Suspended Ute Cory Butler-Byrd pleads guilty as part of plea deal

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 28: Wide Receiver Nelson Spruce #22 of the Colorado Buffaloes fights off Cory Butler-Byrd #16 of the Utah Utes after a first down catch in the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

It appears the door is a little more ajar today for Cory Butler-Byrd to eventually exit Kyle Whittingham‘s doghouse.

Monday, the Utes wide receiver pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal in a Salt Lake City courthouse.  Butler-Byrd was charged late last month with misdemeanor criminal mischief.

That charge will be dismissed if Butler-Byrd has no additional legal issues in the next year, he provides proof of mental health counseling and a $1,691.50 restitution payment for the damage he caused.

It’s alleged that Butler-Byrd threw a piece of wood at a window of the university’s police station as well as jumped up and down on a police officer’s patrol vehicle, “denting the roof and smashing the rear window.”

Butler-Byrd has been indefinitely suspended since the incident.  The player has remained in school and on scholarship during the suspension, with the Salt Lake Tribune writing that “Butler-Byrd has not been permitted near Utah’s football facility since his suspension began, but was planning to meet with coaches after his court appearance.”

After transferring to the Utes from the junior college ranks, Butler-Byrd began his FBS career as a cornerback.  He began the transition to receiver during the 2015 season, then exited spring practice this year as the starter as a slot receiver for the Utes.

Butler-Byrd started five games last season as a corner/receiver (three at CB, two at WR), intercepting three passes and catching one pass for a 54-yard touchdown.  He also returned eight kicks for 233 yards and a touchdown.

Buried on depth chart, QB Brandon Cox decided to leave Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 8:  Utah Utes cheerleaders runs flags on the field during an NCCA game against the Oregon Ducks during the first half on November 8, 2014 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Seeing his avenue for meaningful playing time blocked, Brandon Cox has decided to ply his football wares elsewhere.

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has confirmed that Cox has decided to leave the team and transfer from the Utes.  The move comes a few days after junior college transfer Troy Williams was named the team’s starting quarterback and freshman Tyler Huntley was tapped as his backup.

As a graduate transfer, Cox would be eligible to play immediately in 2016 at another FBS school, although leaving this close to the start of the season likely won’t leave him many opportunities at this level.  One bonus for any school, though, is that Cox will have another season of eligibility to use in 2017.

The Deseret News writes that, “[w]ith Cox’s transfer, Utah has just two scholarship quarterbacks on its roster in Williams and Huntley, as well as walk-ons Logan Bateman and Drew Lisk.”

Cox was a three-star member of the Utes’ 2013 recruiting class, rated as the No, 21 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  He played in just one game as a Ute, completing all three of his passes for 17 yards in the 2014 opener against Idaho State.

Utah’s Siale Fakailoatonga, in the mix to start at TE, suffers second torn ACL

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - OCTOBER 10: Tight end Siale Fakailoatonga #87 of the Utah Utes gestures during the game between the Utes and the California Golden Bears at Rice-Eccles Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Siale Fakailoatonga‘s 2015 season ended because of a significant knee injury.  Unfortunately for the senior, he won’t get to complete his comeback this year because of a similar injury.

Utah’s Kyle Whittingham confirmed Thursday that Fakailoatonga sustained another torn ACL during a practice session earlier this week.  It’s the same knee in which he sustained the injury last year that ended his 2015 season prematurely.

The good news, such as it is, is that this most recent tear will not end the tight end’s collegiate career.

“We feel so bad for him, but he does have a redshirt year,” Whittingham said. “That’s the silver lining.”

At the time of his first injury, Fakailoatonga was the Utes’ fourth-leading receiver with 120 yards on 12 catches.  In summer camp, Fakailoatonga was in the position to win a starting job.

Bama’s still the favorite, but LSU makes significant gain in Bovada title odds

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07:  Les Miles, head coach of the LSU Tigers, reacts during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Back in February, four other teams had, per Bovada.lv, better odds to win the 2016 College Football Playoff than LSU.  Six months later, and less than a month before the start of a new season, the Tigers lag behind just one.

Currently, Alabama, 7/1 in February, is listed as Bovada‘s favorite at 6/1.  Right behind them is SEC West rival LSU at 7/1 and 2016 playoff runnerup Clemson at 17/2.

Ohio State, Bovada‘s wagering favorite earlier this year, has seen its odds grow longer at 9/1.  Those are the same odds hated rival Michigan (15/2 in February) is getting from the gambling website.

Houston (66/1) and Boise State (150/1) are the only Group of Five teams listed.  BYU (250/1) as a football independent (for now?) is also included.

Below are the updated odds for the 2016 College Football Playoff championship, again courtesy of Bovada.lv:

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.15.46 PM

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 12.16.34 PM