Utah Utes football: Facing a 'different deal' for pursuing prospects in Pac-12
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah recruiting coordinator Morgan Scalley acknowledges it's a "different deal."
The Utes' impending move to the Pac-12, where they'll compete against Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State, has altered the landscape when it comes to pursuing football recruits.
"I think there's a lot more emphasis on the other schools trying to make sure that if we're going after the same guy, that they make sure they don't lose him," Scalley said. "At the same time, we're having to face the fact that these guys that we're recruiting now — the caliber of players — they're visiting all these other Pac-12 teams. They're visiting all these different facilities.
"Whether we'd like to admit it or not, we have to step up our game," he added while noting that it involves the facilities aspect and everything that goes with recruiting. "We need to step it up."
The stakes have been raised. So, too, has the competition for recruits.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham noted that when the Utes played in the Mountain West Conference, typical recruiting battles with Pac-10 schools involved one or two teams. Now, half the league or more jumps into the mix.
New offensive coordinator Norm Chow, a former assistant at USC and UCLA, noted that kids want to play in the conference for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl and Bowl Championship Series.
Utah recruiting, thus, will change.
"No question about that," Chow said.
Since joining the staff last week, he's already assisted in the effort. Chow, though, said he hasn't been around long enough to say if the conference switch has paid immediate dividends for the Utes.
"I've talked to a couple of guys that since then have shown an interest," Chow said. "They still haven't committed to us."
Many final Pac-12 recruiting decisions won't be made until letters-of-intent can be signed on Wednesday.
Scalley chalks that up to a variety of factors. He explained there's a lot more poaching, a lot more late decision-making and a lot more players wanting to take other trips in the Pac-12.
"So it's probably a little more stressful near the end of it," Scalley said.
The Utes are still in the running for seven to nine players who are pondering their options, most likely until Wednesday.
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