The Utah Utes aren't losing their Pac-12 South heavyweight status any time in the near future. The Utes added a mix of talented transfers and freshmen to a young roster already stocked with skilled, speedy, and athletic athletes. It will make Utah more formidable on both sides of the ball.
Many newcomers joining Utah in 2021 were brought in to make immediate contributions, especially on the offensive side of the ball. With a veteran quarterback and veteran running back now in the mix, the Utes are poised to take a major step forward. Could it mean a third divisional crown in four seasons? Utah certainly has the right ingredients in place now to cook that winning recipe.
These five newcomers are well-positioned to make an immediate impact for the Utes in 2021:
Charlie Brewer, QB
Brewer, a graduate transfer from Baylor, is the early favorite to win the starting job at quarterback. He has the skills and experience to give Utah's passing game the juice it lacked last season. Brewer spent four seasons with the Bears and had back-to-back 3,000-yard seasons in 2018 and 2019. He threw for 9,700 yards and 65 touchdowns at Baylor while completing 63.5 percent of his pass attempts.
T.J. Pledger, RB
The sudden, untimely death of Ty Jordan left a huge hole in Utah's backfield. Pledger will give the Utes a quality running back who showed flashes of his potential last season. The Oklahoma transfer ran for 451 yards and five touchdowns on 95 carries in 2020. He had back-to-back 100-yard games against Texas and TCU to help the Sooners overcome a 0-2 start.
Ethan Calvert, LB
Utah already has a couple of quality playmakers at linebacker with Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell. Calvert has the potential to fit that same mold. A top-75 prospect nationally according to 247Sports, he is the second-highest-rated recruit to commit to the Utes during the Pac-12 era. Calvert is a tough and physical linebacker with strong instincts and field vision.
David Fotu, DT
The younger brother of former Utah defensive lineman Leki Fotu has similar physical tools and should get into the defensive line rotation right away. David comes to Utah after a brief stint at Snow (Utah) College, where he tallied 17 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, and 2.5 sacks last season. He first committed to Utah in 2017 before serving a two-year LDS mission. Fotu was ranked as the No. 13 junior college prospect in the 2021 class.
Ricky Parks, RB
Parks is the latest athlete in a Florida talent pipeline that's lifted the Utah offense in recent seasons. He joins a backfield where everything is up for grabs heading into the 2021 season. Parks ranked as the No. 18 running back coming out of Gaither HS (Fla.). He brings plenty of speed to the backfield. Parks also competed with his high school track team in Tampa and posted a 100 meters time of 11.30 seconds.
— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports, and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.
(Top graphic courtesy of @CBrewerII)