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Many feel this year's in-state football recruiting class could be Utah's best ever

Published: Tuesday, June 17 2014 12:00 p.m. MDT

Pine View's Kody Wilstead throws the ball as Juan Diego's Harrison Jones rushes as Pine View High School defeats Juan Diego 48-42 in overtime of the State 3AA High School semi-final football game Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

It's no secret to national recruiting analysts that the state of Utah pumps out some of the best football talent per capita of any state, but this year's class could reach extraordinary heights.

It's only June, and at least 12 local athletes for the class of 2015 could already be labeled as national prospects — and several other players may also reach that designation.

"I don't think there's any question that this is the best collective talent I've seen out of Utah," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman. "What makes this year different compared to other years is the depth. Utah has always had top guys, but the state has never had this level of talent depth at this stage of the process. (It's) really not close."

Leading to the way for the state are a couple of linebackers — Brighton's Osa Masina and Salem Hills' Porter Gustin. Both players have received multiple Pac-12 and Big 12 offers, and have also garnered offers from notable Big Ten and SEC programs. Both are also listed among the top 100 recruits nationally by Scout.com.

"I can't think of a time Utah has had two prospects in our top 100 at this stage or at any stage," Huffman said. "What's amazing about Utah's class is there are others — guys like Christian Folau (East) and Andre James (Herriman) — who are right there near our top 100."

While national experts have heaped early praise on the state's 2015 class, others, such as former local player and coach Riley Jensen, believe this year's class will exceed the already lofty expectations.

Jensen manages the Mountain West Elite camp and subsequently has seen most of the state's top players up close.

"Schools from out of state have taken notice and they'll continue to take more and more notice once these guys progress at the next level," Jensen said of this year's crop. "I believe that most of these players will outperform their expectations, much like most players from the state always do."

Jensen believes what separates Utah prep athletes is their general toughness and work ethic. Those qualities allow them to play above their combine numbers and 40-yard dash times.

"Every coach wants their players to play fast, and you play fast by playing tough and confident," Jensen said. "That's what you have with most players from Utah. You have guys who aren't as fast as others when being timed, but when they're on the field of play — the only place where it matters — then you make up the difference and then some."

While Jensen has taken a role in developing a lot of the local talent since starting his camp, he's quick to credit local coaches and the players themselves.

"The coaches we have here in this state are exceptional," Jensen said. "They really do get the most out of their players and the players — they're just as exceptional with their work ethic and constant desire to get better."

State's top 12 recruits:

Osa Masina, LB, Brighton HS: Masina burst on to the national recruiting scene right after his sophomore season and has seen a steady increase in attention since. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound prospect currently holds offers from most Pac-12 and Big 12 programs along with several Big Ten and SEC programs. He’s rated as the No. 52 overall prospect nationally by Scout.com and No. 58 by Rivals.com.

He is uncommitted and most reports have him looking to sign with an out-of-state program. Should he stay in-state he’s most likely to join his older brother, Uaea Masina, at Utah.

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