SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes offense has taken a big hit with the news that tight end Brant Kuithe will miss the remainder of the 2022 season with a knee injury.

Kuithe suffered the injury near the end of the first quarter of Saturday’s game against Arizona State after catching his second pass of the night.

“That’s a big blow to our offense,” head coach Kyle Whittingham said at Monday’s press conference. “He was a huge part of what we do offensively. He’s a great leader, a great person, and it breaks your heart to see something like that happen to a senior.

Kuithe is a 3-time All-Pac-12 performer, and could have entered the NFL Draft last season, but chose to come back to school to try to win another Pac-12 Championship.

Kuithe does have the option to return for the 2023 season since he has only played in four games and could take a medical redshirt. But with his age, Kuithe is expected to begin training for the NFL Draft as soon as he is healthy.

“He’s going to struggle I’m sure,” said fellow tight end and close friend Dalton Kincaid. “That happens to anybody if they’re going to go through it. But we’ve got to be there for him more than anything, and hope that he’s going to be there for us as well.”

“He’s a very vocal leader on our team,” said wide receiver DeVaughn Vele. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”

In his Utah career, Kuithe has 148 catches for 1,882 yards and 16 touchdowns. This season, Kuithe leads the team in receptions with 19 for 206 yards and three touchdowns.

Kincaid will assume an even bigger role in the offense, with Thomas Yassmin expected to fill some of the void left by Kuithe.

“Dalton Kincaid’s role becomes even bigger,” Whittingham said. “He’s already a big part of the offense. But as I mentioned, Thomas Yassmin is really the guy that will take most of the reps.”

The #12 Utes host Oregon State Saturday at 12:00 p.m.