The transfer portal has added one quarterback to Utah’s roster this offseason, and now it could be taking one away. Jason Shelley announced he is entering his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal as he begins to search for a new home.
“After a lot of praying and talking with my family, I have decided to enter my name in the NCAA transfer portal,” Shelley said in a statement share don his Twitter account. “Thank you coaches for this opportunity to play for the University of Utah these last [three] seasons.”
Shelley’s decision to enter the transfer portal comes two months after former South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley announced he will be moving to Utah as a graduate transfer. As a graduate transfer, Bentley will be eligible to play immediately this fall for the Utes, and the expectation is he will be the starter for the defending Pac-12 South Division champions.
By entering his name in the transfer portal, Shelley is free to have contact with any college football program interested in recruiting him. Shelley also has the option of pulling his name out of the transfer portal and stay at Utah, but schools are not obligated to hold a player’s scholarship once they enter their name in the transfer portal. If Shelley does transfer to another FBS program, he will have to sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Shelley played in a total of 18 games for Utah in his first two seasons with 1,205 passing yards and six touchdowns. The highlight of his brief stay in Salt Lake City will be leading Utah to a wild comeback victory against rival BYU in 2018. Down 27-7 in the third quarter, Shelley led Utah to 28 unanswered points, punctuated by a 33-yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter of the 35-27 victory.
Just days after making an official visit to Utah, it appears Cameron Rising liked what he saw. Rising announced he has decided to transfer to Utah after previously deciding not to return to Texas, as first reported by UteZone.
Rising was a four-star pro-style quarterback recruit in the Class of 2018 for the Texas Longhorns. He had committed to the Longhorns in 2017 after previously committing to Oklahoma, but it did not appear he was going to get a chance to play much for Texas with Sam Ehlinger standing in the way. Ehlinger’s role in the Texas offense also led to the decision of Shane Buechele to enter the NCAA transfer portal as well.
Rising did not play for the Longhorns in 2018 and used a redshirt to preserve four years of eligibility. However, he will still have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules and will not be eligible to play again until 2020. At that time, Rising will have three years of eligibility at his disposal. That timing could work out for the Utes as Tyler Huntley will be back for his senior season in Salt Lake City this fall.
Before Rising steps right into the starting role, however, he may have to beat out Jason Shelley for the job in 2020. Shelley had an up-and-down freshman season in relief of Huntley that didn’t inspire a tremendous amount of confidence in the future of the passing game for Utah. That may have been why Kyle Whittingham pursued the transfer of Rising once the former four-star recruit became an option.
WHO: No. 17 Utah (9-4) vs. No. 22 Northwestern (8-5)
WHAT: The 41st San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. ET on FS1
WHERE: SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, CA
THE SKINNY: While the Rose Bowl gets the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 this season, it is the Holiday Bowl that gets the runners-up for a fun little matchup between Northwestern and Utah. Both schools are making their first trip to the long-standing bowl game.
The great unknown for Utah is the status of quarterback Tyler Huntley. Huntley was thought to be lost for the season due to a collarbone injury, but he has been available for practices and has not been ruled out for the Holiday Bowl. In fact, Kyle Whittingham has refused to name a starter, which suggests there is a chance that not only will Huntley play, but he could even get the starting nod for the Utes offense. If Huntley can be available, that would be a nice lift for a Utah offense as he is the more dependable option compared to backup Jason Shelley.
Northwestern will know they have Clayton Thorson leading their offense, but he can be streaky in good ways and bad. Against a steady Utah defense, that could be an ominous sign. Look for the Wildcats to try getting freshman running back Isaiah Bowser going, but Utah will be focused on stopping the Northwestern running game to force Thorson to try beating them through the air. That may be a risk they are willing to take.
THE LINE: Utah -7.0
THE PREDICTION: Utah 30, Northwestern 24