By Dan Sorensen
The Class of 2011 was a solid, but unspectacular effort for Bronco Mendenhall's Cougars. BYU did a good job landing most of their in-state priority recruits. American Fork offensive lineman Ryker Matthews is without a doubt the star of the class. Matthews is a gifted offensive lineman with terrific footwork that represented himself well at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
BYU's biggest need was at linebacker, and they addressed that with Austin Heder of Pleasant Grove and Manua Pikula of Bingham. Other recruits of note include Bakker Pritchard, Kensi Tausinga, and Moses Kaumatule, a trio of talented defensive linemen from Bingham. The lack of any true standout athletes at the skill positions, especially defensive back and wide receiver, could be a concern.
The most interesting aspect of this class was the scarcity of any true head-to-head recruiting battles between BYU and Utah, with Matthews and Spanish Fork receiver and Utah signee Travis Still being the only two players hotly contested by both schools.
This year marked another strong class for Kyle Whittingham, although some fans will focus on what might have been, as the Utes narrowly missed out on several high profile national recruits. Despite those misses, Utah brings in a strong and deep collection of players, led by Cerritos Community College safety Keith McGill. He is expected to be an instant impact player when he arrives on campus.
Utah did very well in-state, landing nine local recruits, led by Bingham star and Army All-American Harvey Langi, Highland standout Nate Fakahafua and Spanish Fork offensive lineman Isaac Asiata. The Utes also found continued success in Texas and California, landing several top prospects including Klein, Texas safety Eric Rowe and East Los Angeles College receiver Anthony Denham. Signing day surprise Quinton Pedrosa was another major win for the Utes. The former Arizona State commit is a gifted athlete that is expected to grow into a star cornerback for the Utes.
Utah State: B-
In his second year at the helm, Gary Anderson has shown noticeable improvement over previous recruiting classes. The gem of the class is Las Vegas defensive back Ladale Jackson, who received interest from several BCS programs.
It's apparent that Anderson wants to win immediately, with 20 junior college transfers making up a bulk of the class. Although it's nearly impossible to win on a consistent basis relying so heavily on JUCO talent, Anderson was able to bring in some talented players, most noticeably defensive end Bojay Filimoeatu from Mount San Antonio Community College who selected the Aggies over Iowa State, Kansas State and Nevada.
On the high school front, Texas recruits LaBradford Harold and Chuckie Keeton should add depth to help Anderson to build for the future. The Aggies have taken small steps to improve, but will likely need to do better in-state and with high school recruits in general to find any kind of long-term success.
By Brandon Gurney
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