SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - Judging by his first game with the Utes, in which he caught career high 10 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's 37-16 win over North Dakota, Darren Carrington looked like he's been with the Utes for much longer than just a couple months.
"I felt as comfortable as I ever felt," he said. "It's just like I was here all my college career, so it's great."
Carrington's college career could have been over after he was kicked off the Oregon team this summer for DUI arrest. But he is extremely thankful to Kyle Whittingham for giving him a second chance at Utah.
"I love Coach Whitt," Carrington said. "Honestly, every time I step out on the field, I feel just blessed to be here and get this second chance. I just want to take full advantage of every opportunity I get to step back on this field because you never know when it could be gone."
For those who feel he didn't deserve another shot, Carrington says everybody is entitled to their own opinion.
"I mean, everybody can debate on the outside," he said. "All that matters to me is what God thinks and what my family here thinks."
Whittingham knew how good Carrington was, but even he didn't expect this kind of game in his Utah debut.
"I don't know if it was the plan to get him that heavily involved," Whittingham said. "He's a great receiver, he runs good routes, he's got a big catch radius. He's got length, and if you put the ball in the general vicinity, he's going to come away with it."
As for quarterback Tyler Huntley, who completed 23 of 32 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 70 yards and two scores in his first collegiate start, Carrington came away very impressed.
"He's just a ball player," Carrington said. "Just to have a young soul out there, and I just want to be that veteran that he can always go to. When something falls down, he can just look my way if worst comes to worst."
Carrington will get his first taste of the Utah-BYU rivalry next Saturday in Provo, and he can't wait.
"I heard it's pretty hectic," he said. "I just want to be a part of it as much as them."
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