Although Cella said that the Utes are already on the fringe of a top 25 recruiting class nationally, he noted that doing well with late commitments could push them even higher.
"On paper, with rankings and the caliber of recruits they've got committed, it's certainly the highest rank that I've seen," Cella said of the Utes' national standing. "As far as it being a top 25 class, though, it really depends of what happens on signing day."
With players like talented quarterbacks like Chase Hansen (6-3, 195, Lone Peak HS) and Travis Wilson (6-5, 205, San Clemente, Calif.) committed to signing with the Utes on Wednesday, Cella believes the program has already proven something.
"Utah is without question more able to go head-to-head with bigger programs than they were in the past," he said.
Utah's major areas of emphasis in recruiting this year, Whittingham explained, include both the offensive and defensive lines, plus the quarterback and cornerback positions.
"We think we've put together a pretty good class," Whittingham said. "Time will tell, as I always say, you never truly know until a couple of years down the road. But I think our assistant coaches have done a great job for the last several years of recruiting the right guys for our program."
The Utes have already gotten off to a positive start in recruiting. Highly touted running back Kelvin York (5-11, 225, Fullerton CC, Calif.) and defensive end Koliniasi Leota (6-5, 275, Mt. San Antonio CC, Calif.) were mid-year signees.
"I feel good about those guys," Whittingham said. "That's obviously a big advantage for them to be here for spring football and get a head start both academically and athletically."
Travis Wilson, San Clemente HS, San Clemente, Calif. 6-6, 210 QB. Wilson was a finalist at the Elite 11 quarterback camp this summer. He's a great overall athlete who could play a number of positions in college.
Sione Tupouata, Snow College, Ephraim 6-5, 255 DL. Tupouata was rated as a four-star prospect by scout.com. He signed with the Utes out of HS, but had to go the JC route as a non-qualifier.
Austin Lee, Alta HS, Sandy 6-0, 185 Safety. Lee committed to Utah over Utah State and will serve a mission before joining the program. He'll compete for a spot at safety while at Utah.
Chase Hansen, Lone Peak HS, Alpine 6-4, 200 QB. Was named as the consensus prep player of the year while leading Lone Peak to a state championship. He chose Utah over BYU and was named as a Parade All-American.
Delshawn McClellon, Gahr HS, Cerritos, Calif. 5-9, 165 WR. McClellon has legit sub-4.4 speed and has drawn comparisons to DeSean Jackson. He was offered by Arizona State, Idaho and Hawaii.
Hunter Dimick, Syracuse HS, Syracuse 6-4, 240 DE. Dimick chose to commit to Utah over BYU. Dimick set the state record for sacks during his junior season.
Nua Poteki, Brighton HS, Sandy 6-4, 280 OL. Poteki was the very first OL commit for the Utes in what looks to be a very strong offensive line class for 2012.
Moses Folauhola, Hunter HS, West Valley City 6-0, 240 DE. Folauhola dreamed of playing for Utah as a kid and will now get that chance. He had received interest for Pac-12 programs before committing to Utah this past summer.
Justin Thomas, West Orange-Stark HS, Orange, Tex. 5-9, 165 DB. Thomas was unable to play his senior year of HS due to being 19 years of age. He held offers from programs such as Oklahoma State, Baylor and Missouri at the time of his commit to Utah.
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