Former Baylor QB Charlie Brewer flourishing at Utah

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

SALT LAKE CITY — Charlie Brewer is on course to make a name for himself as Utah’s newest quarterback.

Since his high school days, when he was lightly recruited before signing with Baylor, Brewer has been driven by a desire to prove doubters wrong. That competitive attitude helped him become a four-year starter with the Bears.

“I’ve just always had a competitive nature about me and always enjoyed competing,” Brewer said.

Now he has the inside track on the starting quarterback job with the Utes.

Brewer brought a track record of success to the Utes. He helped lead Baylor to a runner-up Big 12 finish and a Sugar Bowl berth during his junior season in 2019, two years after the Bears went 1-11.

In 44 career games with the Bears, Brewer threw for 9,700 yards and 65 touchdowns. He posted back-to-back 3,000-yard passing seasons in 2018 and 2019. Brewer posted 10 300-yard passing games and a pair of 400-yard games during his time in Waco, Texas.

When Brewer left Baylor, he departed as the No. 2 ranked passer in school history. He was also just the second Bears player to eclipse 10,000 career yards in total offense, after tallying 1,039 rushing yards over four seasons.

“All those reps he had in the Big 12 were prepping him for when he got here,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “He’s a guy that’s played so much football at this level.”

Brewer came to the Utes as a graduate transfer following the 2020 season, joining a quarterback room that includes Cam Rising, Texas transfer Ja'Quinden Jackson and freshman Peter Costelli. Rising won the starting job a year ago but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener against Southern California. The redshirt sophomore has not participated in spring practices while he continues to rehab the shoulder.

Rising’s absence opened the door for the other quarterbacks to get additional reps and Brewer quickly rose to the top of the depth chart over the spring. Whittingham praised Brewer’s performance in the team’s most recent scrimmage.

“He does all the little things that make a difference between being just average or being really good,” Whittingham said. “He’s paid that price and it didn’t start during spring ball. From the day he set foot on campus, he’s been in that playbook and in the film room. What we see out on the field is a product of all that hard work.”

Brewer has also built good chemistry with offensive linemen and receivers who have been in the program for several years. Utah returns its leading receivers, Britain Covey and Brant Kuithe, from the past two seasons. The Utes also return all five starting offensive linemen from 2020 – a group headlined by first-team All-Pac-12 selection Nick Ford that has combined for 98 total starts.

Their knowledge and experience have made it easier for Brewer to grasp Utah’s offense.

“A lot of people around me – coaches, teammates – have made it a smooth transition for me,” Brewer said.

Brewer led Baylor to a New Year’s Six Bowl in his junior season. He’s confident Utah can achieve a similar level of success this fall and points to the potential to compete for a Pac-12 title as a major reason he chose to come to Salt Lake City.

“I think we’ve got the guys to do it,” Brewer said. “Now it’s just about the little things that go into it. I definitely see the potential.”

Utah fans will get their first live look at Brewer at the team’s annual spring game Saturday. The school is allowing 6,500 fans to attend with masks and social distancing required for all attendees.

Normally a free event, Utah charged $10 per ticket or $22 for a four-ticket bundle. Funds from ticket sales will be donated to the new Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship Fund. The school created the fund in honor of Jordan, Utah’s former running back who died in an accidental shooting in December.

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.