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BYU, Utah, Utah State football: Local Division I programs set to sign promising prospects

Published: Friday, Aug. 28 2015 8:51 a.m. MDT

Fred Warner became a fan of Kyle Van Noy and is anxious to play at the same position for BYU.  (Warner family) Fred Warner became a fan of Kyle Van Noy and is anxious to play at the same position for BYU. (Warner family)

National letter of intent day is quickly approaching, and the state’s three Division I football programs are putting the final touches on what they hope are promising crops of incoming recruits. Players will send in their letters this Wednesday, with coaches — and fans — anxiously awaiting their arrivals.

BYU has just 14 known recruits currently committed and will likely sign between 15-17 come Wednesday. Scholarships are scarce in Provo due to a bevy of returning players from LDS missions set to join the team next season.

Leading BYU’s group of committed players is JC transfer Nick Kurtz from Grossmont (Calif.) Junior College. The 6-foot-6 standout receiver is already enrolled and practicing with the team in hopes of helping to replace Cody Hoffman in 2014.

Lone Peak's Baron Gajkowski sets up for a pass as he scrambles out of the pocket as Alta and Lone Peak play Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 at Alta. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) Lone Peak's Baron Gajkowski sets up for a pass as he scrambles out of the pocket as Alta and Lone Peak play Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 at Alta. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

Linebacker is the top position group on paper with Southern California standouts Tyler Cook and Fred Warner expected to sign Wednesday. Both players were pursued heavily by Pac-12 programs throughout the process.

Around half of BYU’s committed players are expected to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling.

Utah has 19 players committed, and will look to sign around 25 come Wednesday. Top local linemen such as Brighton’s Jackson Barton and Stansbury Park’s Allan Havili headline Utah’s in-state efforts. The players are considered among the best offensive and defensive line prospects in the country, respectively.

The Utes will sign at least nine local prospects, but have also received good talent from California, Louisiana and Florida. Defensive back was a focus for Utah coaches and they scored well at the position in securing commitments from top prospects like Florida’s Andre Godfrey and Louisiana’s Travonne Hobbs.

Jackson Barton as Brighton High School defeats Jordan High School 44-20 as they play in the 5A State High School football semi-final Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City.   (Tom Smart, Deseret News) Jackson Barton as Brighton High School defeats Jordan High School 44-20 as they play in the 5A State High School football semi-final Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 in Salt Lake City. (Tom Smart, Deseret News)

Utah’s class is relatively light on junior college transfers with just two JC prospects committed. Those two are Mount San Antonio receiver Kaelin Clay and Snow lineman Pasoni Tasini. Both players will be looked at to contribute immediately next season.

Utah State continues to make big strides with its recruiting to go along with vast improvement on the field of play in recent years. The Aggies have 19 currently committed players — with seven of those coming from the local prep ranks.

Leading the list of local prospects set to sign with Utah State are Lone Peak quarterback Baron Gajkowski, American Fork receiver Jonah Trinnaman and Stansbury Park linebacker Chase Christiansen.

The Aggies will sign at least four junior college prospects expected to make immediate contributions. That group is led by DeShane Hines (San Mateo JC) and Tyler Ford (Fullerton). Both will work to replace departing star cornerback Nevin Lawson.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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