SALT LAKE CITY — Utah may have a new No. 1 receiver after former Oregon wideout Darren Carrington signed with the Utes.
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. Utah would not elaborate on the remaining hurdles to get him fully cleared as fall practices begin Friday.
Carrington was dismissed from the Ducks two weeks ago, soon after he was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.
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.
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 a case-by-case basis, you can't treat every case the same because there's different dynamics, different circumstances," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said on the Pac-12 Network. "First thing you do is do your homework, talk to all the peripheral people in his life and people that have been close to him. ... Is it a good kid that's made some bad decisions? Or is it just a bad kid?
"As a coach, you have to make that judgment. You're not right 100 percent of the time. But you just (have) your gut feel and go with it."
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 at Pac-12 media days in Los Angeles. "Except against us."
Junior Raelon Singleton was the most productive returning receiver before Carrington signed. 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.
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