After a few tough losses early in the season, Utah football is finally coming around. It has a lot to do with the players that the team needs to dominate, finally performing the way they should. Zack Moss, Bradlee Anae and Chase Hansen specifically have looked outstanding the last few weeks. This week they face USC. If the Utes want to win, their stars will have to continue to play the way they have been. USC may not be as good as they normally are, but they are always good enough to upset anyone.
Zack Moss – RB – 15 Carries – 68 Yards – 1 TD
Moss may have only had 15 carries for 68 yards, but it wasn’t because he wasn’t performing well. The opposite actually, Moss averaged 4.5 yards a carry which is a good number when everyone knows that he is the focal point of the offense. Teams will always buckle down to stop Moss, but that allowed the rest of his team as a whole to average over 5 yards a carry and throw for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Moss runs with a physicality that wears defenses down, he runs hard and isn’t afraid of contact. In college, that is far from the norm, and Moss uses it to his advantage.
Game Day Grade: B+
Current Draft Stock: Round 3-4
Bradlee Anae – DL – 2 Tackles – 1 Sack
Anae is finally making himself a force for this Utah defensive line. Standing at 6’3″ 255 pounds Anae has the size to make NFL teams drool, and now he is playing the way he is capable. Moss has had multiple games in a row now with a sack, and he anchors the line against the run. Anae may not have huge stats, but he does everything the NFL would want him to do. I believe he will be a better NFL player than he is a college player, especially if he gets drafted by a team that lets him pin his ears back and penetrate the offensive line. Anae is doing something that isn’t that natural for him, but he is still performing well within the system.
Game Day Grade: B-
Current Draft Stock: Round 2-4
Chase Hansen – LB/S – 9 Tackles – 1 Sack
Hansen is new to the linebacker position, but he is still stuffing the stat sheet every game. He is 6’3″ and 230 pounds, and he finds a way to get a sack every game it feels like. It is rare to find an inside linebacker that can get after the quarterback, but Hansen has a knack for timing his blitz. Hansen has to be flying up draft boards each week, he is a converted safety who already has time at linebacker so it isn’t completely up to his future NFL team to teach him the position. He also has shown the ability to mix it up with offensive linemen and make plays. Hansen is the prototype in today’s spread NFL. Teams and scouts will fall in love with him, especially if he tests well.
Game Day Grade: A-
Current Draft Stock: Round 2-3
Julian Blackmon – DB – 2 Tackles
Blackmon is a long corner with good ball skills, but he doesn’t get a lot of interceptions which is a little bit worrying. However, he will have a chance to make a name for himself against USC. USC has two good receivers in Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown both of which are big guys who can fly. If Blackmon can shut them down he will make teams take another look at his tape. Blackmon isn’t popping off the charts, but his size could still intrigue NFL teams.