In a bit of a surprising decision, Utah has named Tyler Huntley its starting quarterback.
Huntley, a sophomore, edged senior captain Troy Williams, who started all 13 games for the Utes in 2016. Williams is No. 2 on the depth chart with Cooper Bateman, a transfer from Alabama, serving as the third-stringer.
Williams threw for 2,757 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2016, but completed only 53.1 percent of his passes. After the season, Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham brought in a new offensive coordinator — Troy Taylor from Eastern Washington — to install a new offense. Taylor brings a more pass-oriented system compared to past Utes offenses. At Pac-12 Media Days, Whittingham said his team was “pretty pedestrian” offensively in 2016, and Taylor’s presence has opened things up.
Huntley, who saw action in four games in 2016, has drawn very positive reviews from the coaching staff since he arrived on campus. Still, he was second on the depth chart behind Williams coming out of spring practice. The competition was whittled down to those two earlier this month and the program announced Monday that it will be Huntley taking the first snap when the Utes open up against North Dakota at home on Aug. 31.
Huntley, a native of Hallandale Beach, Florida, was a three-star recruit in the 2016 class. He attempted only seven passes in 2016, completing five of them for 60 yards. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Huntley saw his most significant action of the season in the Foster Farms Bowl against Indiana, perhaps an indication he was pushing Williams late in the year.
In the 26-24 win, Huntley completed a 36-yard pass and rushed the ball eight times for 23 yards and his first career touchdown.
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