SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Sophomore Tyler Huntley will be Utah’s starting quarterback after beating out returning starter Troy Williams.
The decision to start Huntley was a bit of a surprise since Williams, a senior, started all 13 games last season and was voted an offensive captain last week. Williams threw for 2,757 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions last season.
Huntley is a sophomore from Dania, Florida, who was named the 2015 Florida Gatorade Football Player of the Year. Coaches praised him throughout camp for his playmaking ability. He played in four games last year, passing for 60 yards and running for 15 yards with a touchdown.
“He’s electric,” coach Kyle Whittingham said earlier in camp. “He’s able to make a play when everything breaks down, he can escape and extend the play and make something happen. Not that Troy’s not good at that but Tyler’s exceptional at that part of the game.
The Utes have installed a pass-first offense under new coordinator Troy Taylor in an attempt to improve a passing game that has struggled since Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011.
The Utah program has built a reputation for having a punishing running game but has never had a pass offense ranked higher than No. 9 in the Pac-12. It has ranked dead last three times.
Whittingham and Taylor insisted through camp that the quarterback competition was wide open and that the two players were neck-and-neck. The assumption, however, was that Williams’ experience would tip the scales in his favor.
The Utes will now have Hallandale High School teammates starting in the backfield as sophomore Zack Moss is the No. 1 back.
Utah opens the season on Aug. 31 by hosting North Dakota.
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