Twenty-one Utes officially preparing for kickoff of the NFL season

Ryan Kostecka

The time has come!

The NFL is set to return on Thursday night with a massive showdown when the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.

With the return of the NFL, it also means that 21 former Utes will find themselves suiting up and roaming the fields and sidelines on Sunday's. 

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The list of Utes who've made their respective 53-man rosters...

  • Alex Smith, QB — Washington Football Team
  • Star Lotulelei, DT — Buffalo Bills (Opted Out)
  • Eric Rowe, S — Miami Dolphins
  • Garett Bolles, OT — Denver Broncos
  • Marcus Williams, S — New Orleans Saints
  • Marquise Blair, S — Seattle Seahawks
  • Devontae Booker, RB — Las Vegas Raiders
  • Sam Tevi, OT – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Cody Barton, LB — Seattle Seahawks
  • Tim Patrick, WR — Denver Broncos
  • Mitch Wishnowsky, P — San Francisco 49ers
  • Kylie Fitts, LB — Arizona Cardinals
  • Jackson Barton, OT — New York Giants
  • Chase Hansen, LB — New Orleans Saints
  • Jaylon Johnson, CB — Chicago Bears
  • Julian Blackmon, S — Indianapolis Colts
  • Zack Moss, RB — Buffalo Bills
  • Terrell Burgess, S — Los Angeles Rams
  • Leki Fotu, DT — Arizona Cardinals
  • Bradlee Anae, DE — Dallas Cowboys
  • John Penisini, DT — Detroit Lions

The Utes in the NFL are some of the most impressive stories of resilience, starting with Alex Smith.

Smith famously broke his leg back in 2018 and following 17 surgeries and a near amputation, is back on the field and practicing with Washington. He's currently battling with Kyle Allen to be the backup to Dwayne Haskins.

“If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said. “It’s going to unfold very nicely as a football team for us because competition is only going to make you better. It’s going to push the young guys as well.”

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All seven of the Utes who were taken in the 2020 NFL draft have all made their respective 53-man rosters, with Jaylon Johnson, Zack Moss and Leki Fotu potentially earning starting roles at some point in the season.

Star Lotulelei is the only former Ute to opt out of the upcoming season, citing health and safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

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