Dismissed Oregon Ducks receiver Darren Carrington signs with Utah
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utes may have a new No. 1 receiver after former Oregon wideout Darren Carrington transferred to Utah.
The university confirmed Thursday that the senior is in Salt Lake City and will join the team but is not immediately able to be with the Utes on the field.
Coach Kyle Whittingham said there are "paperwork things" that must be completed with the Pac-12 and NCAA before Carrington is fully cleared as fall practices begin Friday. He is confident those hurdles will be cleared.
Carrington was dismissed from the Ducks two weeks ago, soon after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence. Whittingham said Carrington will be on a short leash when it comes to discipline-worthy actions.
"It was very apparent and he would be the first to admit he has done some dumb things, made some bad decisions," Whittingham said at Pac-12 media days in Los Angeles, "but he has got the right attitude right now and is bound and determined to put this behind him, move forward, try to have a successful senior year and then hopefully have a chance to move on to the next level."
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound San Diego native steps onto the Utah team as the most experienced and successful receiver on the roster. Last season as a junior, Carrington had 43 catches for 606 yards and five touchdowns. He has 112 career receptions for 1,919 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Utes are plenty familiar with Carrington after he caught a game-winning, 17-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left last season for a 30-28 Oregon victory.
"He is a terrific talent on the field," Whittingham said. "One of the common denominators from all the people I talked to about Darren was his fierce competitive drive on the field, on the practice field. He's just a guy that is the ultimate competitor and brings a toughness to that receiving position that will help us out."
Eugene, Oregon, police have said Carrington was arrested after hitting a pole at a McDonald's restaurant at 3:15 a.m. on July 1. In addition to DUI, Carrington was cited for careless driving and making an improper turn.
"It's always a tough decision when you talk about a player that you are going to add to your program potentially that has a checkered past," Whittingham said. "You have got to make a decision based on all the information you can gather, based on the athlete's attitude. Is he remorseful, understand that he has done some stupid things and is ready to put it behind him? There is so much that goes into it and it's a judgment call. You're not always right but I feel in this case that it was the right thing to do to give Darren another opportunity."
Carrington should be a much-welcome addition to Utah's new fast-paced, pass-first, spread-the-field system under new offensive coordinator Troy Taylor. The Utah program has built a reputation of having a punishing run game, but has never had a pass offense ranked higher than No. 9 in the Pac-12 since joining the conference in 2011. Three times it has ranked dead last.
"I wish Darren nothing but the best," Oregon coach Willie Taggart said in Los Angeles. "Except against us."
Junior Raelon Singleton was the most productive returning receiver before Carrington transferred. He caught 27 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Senior quarterback Troy Williams is also back after throwing for 2,757 yards, 15 touchdown and eight interceptions in 2016. He is trying to hold off sophomore Tyler Huntley and Alabama transfer Cooper Bateman during fall camp.
Utah finished 9-4 last season and was picked by the media to finish second in the South Division in 2017 behind predicted Pac-12 champion USC.
AP freelancer Dan Greenspan contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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