Utes Kincaid Enjoying Breakout Season
Transitioning from non-scholarship FCS football to the Pac-12 is a little like jumping over a massive gorge on a skateboard. Fortunately for Utah, Dalton Kincaid crossed that gorge and stuck the landing.
Kincaid is quietly emerging as a valuable receiving threat in his second season with the Utes. He has tallied 287 yards and three touchdowns on 18 receptions through his first three games.
His blend of athleticism and sure hands, coupled with a 6-foot-4 frame, make Kincaid a quarterback's dream on short and intermediate routes.
“His catch radius is unreal,” Utah quarterback Cameron Rising said. “He's a guy you want out there running routes. In a jump ball opportunity, he's going to go make a play.”
Football wasn't always Kincaid's first love. He was a basketball player first until fully committing to the gridiron during his senior season at Faith Lutheran HS in Las Vegas. Kincaid earned all-state and all-conference honors at Faith Lutheran and decided to continue his football career at San Diego.
Playing football with San Diego in the non-scholarship Pioneer League instilled a walk-on mentality and work ethic in Kincaid.
“Everyone who was on that team played, basically, by choice,” Kincaid said. “No one was getting anything to play there. No scholarships. That was a big part of it. Everyone who played there wanted to play there. They had no other reason except the will and love for football.”
Kincaid made significant strides with the Toreros. In his sophomore season, he piled up 835 yards and eight touchdowns on 44 receptions. Kincaid led all FCS tight ends in yards per catch (18.98) and ranked second in total receiving yards (835) and receiving yards per game (69.6).
Making the leap to Utah wasn't a simple transition. The level of football he became exposed to in practices and games was as different as an apple and an orange. Kincaid simply put his head down and went to work.
“I think a lot of it, definitely, is getting used to this level of football,” Kincaid said. “Bigger, faster, stronger as everyone says. Getting more in touch with the playbook.”
Kincaid has done those things well enough to start carving out an important role in the offense in his second season with Utah. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham labeled him “the best kept secret in the Pac-12” before the season.
The secret is getting out. Of his 18 receptions, 11 have been for first downs. Kincaid's 15.9 yards per catch ranks fourth among Pac-12 tight ends and his role keeps expanding as the season progresses.
Kincaid credits his coaches at both Utah and San Diego with taking his natural skill set and molding him into the player he is now.
“I loved every minute I spent at San Diego,” Kincaid said. “Great program. Super successful. People there are great. Coaches cared a lot about development, developing players. But Utah has been just as great if not better. Coaches are great, consistent here. I've loved it here so far."