Utah TE Brant Kuithe named preseason All-American by Pick Six Previews
At the beginning of the 2019 college football season, nobody outside of Utah's locker room really knew who Brant Kuithe.
Then Kuithe went out and earned all-Pac-12 second team honors after finishing with 34 catches for 602 yards and six touchdowns, adding another 102 yards rushing on six attempts and three more scores on the season.
So it's safe to say that entering the 2020 college football, Kuithe is now a household name throughout college football. With his ceiling so high, Kuithe was named a fourth-team preseason All-American by Pick Six Previews.
Kuithe is the only Utah player to make any of the four teams on offense and is one of nine players from the Pac-12 to be represented.
He had two major breakout games this past season — against UCLA when he caught five passes for 132 yards and a score — and against Colorado when he caught three passes for 63 yards and two scores while adding two rushes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Look for the 6-foot-2, 235-pound junior to really breakout this season and potentially earn all-American recognition if things go accordingly.
"He’s just a tremendous athlete and it’s not anything we scripted differently other than he just happened to shake free more often than he had in the past," Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham said after the UCLA game last season. "He has been playing really great football for us all year long, but he’s a tremendous weapon. He’s a tough match-up. ... He’s only a sophomore too."
He's a matchup nightmare for opponents as he's too big for safeties and cornerbacks, yet too athletic for linebackers. Kuithe reminds me of San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, who like Kuithe really made a name for himself this past season.
“I don’t know if teams really know how to account for him because he can’t be covered by a linebacker and even safeties struggle with him,” Whittingham said. “One of the strengths of Andy (Ludwig, Utah offensive coordinator) is he puts guys in position to maximize their ability and what they do best. He’s certainly done that with Brant Kuithe.”
Kuithe's emergence has been huge for the Utes as for most of last season, something was missing from the offense.
When Utah's receivers, with lack of a true star, struggle to get open against man coverage, and teams load the box to contain Zack Moss, who can make a play for the Utes? Who does Tyler Huntley and Whittingham trust enough to win a one-on-one battle along the sideline? Who do they trust enough to go through traffic and make the catch to keep a drive alive?
That answer eluded Utah for the first half of last season, until Kuithe thrived and took over as a staple in the offense.
With a new quarterback and running back taking over on offense, Kuithe will be relied on more than ever to be more than just a staple — and if any of the preseason recognition is any indication of what's to come, Kuithe is more than ready for the job.