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NCAA Football Pac 12 FootballUtah Utes

Utah Utes Scrambling at Safety Following Loss of Reshawn Hooker

kyle whittingham

Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA TODAY Sports

The Utah Utes were already shuffling their defense around in fall camp trying to fill holes on the defensive side of the ball. Sophomore Reshawn Hooker was going to be a major contributor for them in 2013, moving from safety to linebacker as fall camp opened as the team’s “Plan B” when junior college transfer Tevin Carter’s arrival on campus was delayed, perhaps indefinitely. But after suffering a possible career-ending concussion this week, Kyle Whittingham is forced to go back to the drawing board.

Hooker played in three games during his freshman season as a linebacker but was going to have a much bigger role on the defense in 2013 as a safety. He has a history of concussions in his football career and suffered another one on Wednesday during practice. The team is still waiting for official word from the medical staff, but Whittingham told reporters that he believes the injury will end Hooker’s football career, saying “The overall concern is for his health.”

If Hooker is indeed done with football, the Utes will have to scramble to fill the void at safety. Utah is looking at a number of candidates in camp, including Quade Chappuis, Tyron Morris-Edwards and Charles Henderson. Chappuis is the most experienced as a senior and played five games last season, recording 22 tackles and a forced fumble. He also has one career interception from 2011.

Morris-Edwards saw limited time in the secondary as a sophomore in 2012, recording 16 tackles and two pass breakups in nine games while Henderson is moving over to defense from wide receiver. He was primarily used on special teams last season returning punts and kicks with limited effectiveness. None of them have the experience to make them clear favorites for the job, but each will have the opportunity to show Whittingham what they can do before the season kicks off.

With the deck already stacked against them, Utah really could have used Hooker this season at safety. Without him, the Utes will scramble during the fall to try and find a suitable replacement. Will Whittingham’s “Plan C” pan out in 2013?

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