Mike Grant: Decade-long success has made Utah football a pro pipeline


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    May 7, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    Guam_Bomb, since Alex Smith there's been Freddie Brown, who unfortunately didn't stick, David Reed, who is a great special teams player, and Quinton Ganther had a good career as a pretty productive backup running back, but the offensive line has still been consistently producing some very good players. You mentioned Bergstrom, who should be earning a starting spot soon, but also Zane Beadles has been an elite NFL guard now, Caleb Schlauderaff will compete for a starting spot this year, and while Zane Taylor wasn't drafted, he's been a good practice squad guy for the last couple years.

  • Guam_Bomb BARRIGADA, GU
    May 6, 2013 7:35 p.m.

    Since Alex Smith, Utah hasn't done to well at producing quarterbacks or offensive players. The only notable exception that stands out to me is Bergstrom last year. This is reflected in the current roster. If I have one criticism for coach Whit, it is that he does not excel on the offensive side of the ball and knowing that he did not put the people in place to effectively manage the offense. Hopefully the addition of Erikson revitalizes the offense this year and Brian Johnson will take the opportunity to learn from one of the best offensive minds of the last twenty years.

  • Cougsndawgs West Point , UT
    May 5, 2013 11:07 p.m.

    @azute & Nav Vet
    Give the "dramatic increase in SOS" a rest. The excuses for Utah's failures over the last couple years are getting tiresome. Here's some "research" for you: Utah's opponents avg BCS final ranking last year 47.63, BYUs 55.16 (and that's with Idaho, NMSU, and Hawaii watering it down). BYU played FIVE top 25 finishers last year while Utah played TWO. BYU actually beat one of their top 25 while Utah didn't. BYUs schedule wouldn't be great the first couple years, we all expected that. But without Utah playing the two best programs in their league, what we might not have expected is that Utah's schedule was not much tougher than BYUs. The difference is BYU demolished their 100 plus ranked opponents while U had to have a game saving kick off return to win , and then actually lost to that weak opponent the year before. Stop with the SOS argument. Or is that the same weak bologna were going to hear after every .500 season, with no trophies or awards of any real national merit? BYU top 25 finishes 18, Utah 7, national awards 15, Utah 0. Take your draft picks, I prefer a winning tradition.

  • ekute Layton, UT
    May 5, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    Them Ute studs in the NFL got there on a steady diet of cupcakes, turnovers, and tators.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 4, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    If my last post gets through let me apologize to all real sports fans who read these posts. As a college professor with a PhD from a "research" institution I pride myself on doing due diligence before I post. Trolls don't usually get to me but they struck a nerve today and I reacted.
    Let me reiterate the points I have made... Recruiting classes don't have a direct correlation with winning big games. For evidence see Utah's recruiting classes for the years preceding 2004 and 2008, listed earlier in this forum. They were ranked lower than BYU's class of 2013. So talk all the smack that you want, but recruiting class smack doesn't carry a lot of weight if you rely on "research."
    Also, sending players to the NFL does not have a direct correlation with winning big games (see Rutgers, also Tenn and Colorado produced more NFL talent from 1992-2011 than Texas). So, again, simply sending players to the NFL will not guarantee any sort of on-the-field success.
    Granted, common sense dictates that sending players to the NFL will help with recruiting and better recruiting will help with winning ball games.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    May 3, 2013 4:15 p.m.


    Your question to Wiscougarfan would require him to do "research". But he's an Indy-WACer. Indy-WACers can't DO research. All they can do is just "believe" whatever whoever is doing their thinking for them. Need proof? Just look at his name. It says "-cougar-" right there in the middle of it.

    Case closed.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 3, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    @ wcf

    Please respond directly to my questions regarding the recruiting-classes you specifically referenced and how many from them you believe actually started for UTAH in '04 & '08? Thanks.

    On your point in why UTAH has utterly dominated byu head-to-head, you pointed out the fact UTAH played better than byu....Don't you think this might have something to do with having better players? Just possibly related to this fact?

    Again, Rutgers has zero to do with this thread and with this discussion.

    I'll be more than happy to further clarify anything else for you.

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 3, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    RE: AZUTE1

    I was simply making a point. The recruiting classes that resulted in Utah's two biggest wins in program history were not especially impressive. Indeed, they were ranked lower than BYU's 2-star studded class of this year. So the point is that recruitment rankings don't guarantee anything.
    Rutgers having seven players draft this year also illustrates a point. Simply having multiple players move on to the NFL does not guarantee any kind of on-the-field performance for collegiate programs. While I think it is great that Utah is getting players to the next level (and a little jealous), that is not the reason they have beat BYU so much recently. The reasons they have won are because they have played better and have been better coached for that particular rivalry game, a trend I hope ends this year.
    Let me know if I need to clarify anything else for you.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 3, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    @ wcf

    How many players in the '03 & '04 rc's do you think actually started for our '04 team? How about the '07 & '08 rc's starting for our '08 team? Think about it for a moment.

    And what in the world does Rutgers have to do w/anything here?

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 3, 2013 6:59 a.m.

    RE: AZUTE1

    Crappy recruiting classes don't necessarily spell out doom and gloom. You should know this better than anyone. Utah's two best seasons of all time (2004, 2008) had recruiting classes of 62.5 and 72 and were preceded by classes ranked 68.5 (2007) and 92.5 (2003). And NFL draft picks tell us little about how good a team is as well (Rutgers owned Utah this year). You should probably stick to on-the-field performance when talking smack (where Utah does currently have a significant advantage over the Cougs). Bronco and most BYU fans never talk about "going undefeated/BCS bowling in the preseason", only trolls do that.

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 2, 2013 8:35 p.m.

    I seriously had to take double-look at byu's last recruiting-class, as I'd honestly never previously seen so many 2-Stars in one, single haul. byu's future certainly looks bright, eh?

    What's incredible, is bm recruited neither of the only 2 draft picks he's seen in the last 4 years....He certainly can't recruit/develop talent like many others certainly do on a regular-basis....Obviously, there's a reason he only goes undefeated/BCS Bowling in the pre-season, but never when the games actually get played.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 6:33 p.m.

    Wiscougarfan - "Utah has out-recruited BYU in the last three years, and BYU out-recruited Utah head-to-head before then"
    Another way to read those numbers is "Utah has a measurable bump in recruiting thanks to PAC-12 membership; independence has not helped BYU recruiting (in fact, it has hurt)."

    Utah's boost was expected. BYU's drop is surprising, but maybe I fell for all the talk of how "national exposure" would bring great players. Thanks for posting those numbers!

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 2, 2013 5:35 p.m.

    Naval Vet--

    You're selling us short, my friend....We missed a bowl game last season for the first time since 2002, not 2003.

    It's always fascinating to watch the byu-fanbase scramble to point their collective-finger at us about something, anything at all, since they clearly can't do so w/our head-to-head meetings....Now it's the fact we missed our 1st bowl game since 2002, as if it were a trend or something, while not only beating byu, yet again, head-to-head, but also playing against a tougher SOS.

    Furthermore, during this current BCS Era, both UTAH/byu have played in the identical amount of bowl games, yet while we've gone 10-1 and achieved BCS Glory, twice, byu has struggled mightily just to remain above .500 at 6-5, while never, ever going undefeated/BCS Bowling, ever.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    Two ways into the NFL in this state: Get recruited by the U of U, or be a walk-on at BYU and beat out the "talent" that their coaching staff recruits.

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    May 2, 2013 4:54 p.m.

    "Decade-long success has made Utah football a pro pipeline"

    And BYU football......Not so much!

  • Two For Flinching Salt Lake City, UT
    May 2, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    @ Tators

    Why is 40 years ago relevant? If you go back that far you might as well include the whole series.

    Recently, Utah has had a solid upper hand on BYU. The 1980's are over; sorry.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    May 2, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    So Tators - you're now going back 4 decades??

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:48 p.m.

    To Naval Vet, Vegas Ute, Silent Lurker, and AZUTE1:

    You keep mentioning that Utah does a better job of developing their athletes, gets more 4-star high school players, how they place more in the NFL, etc..
    Well, instead of just looking at just a few years, let's look at some overall and longer-term statistical successes of the those programs and let the facts speak for themselves.

    BYU has had a total of 116 players drafted into the NFL. Utah has had 83.
    BYU has qualified for and played in 31 bowl games. Utah has played in 17.
    BYU has beat Utah 26 times over the past 40 years, while Utah beat BYU 14 times.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    May 2, 2013 1:48 p.m.


    A decade IS "recent". Did you even read the article? It stated plainly, "The last 10 years have been remarkable for the University of Utah football program....Since 2003, the Utes have had 27 players get their names called at Radio City Music Hall in New York City." YOU guys are the ones who feel compelled to constantly bring up the 1980s, so don't go "there" either with me bringing up the last 10-yrs, and ESPECIALLY not on article that's written focused on the last 10-yrs.

    Furthermore, we've only missed ONE postseason since 2003, and JUST BARELY! We were one OT loss away from bowling last year. That's hardly a "trend". Everybody knows that Utah's SOS took a dramaticly more challenging leap by moving up to the Pac-12. Our "team" didn't slide downward. Our SOS slid upward. Fail on your part.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    May 2, 2013 1:23 p.m.

    Naval Vet:

    Since you have to back a decade to try to make your point, and since more recently the U can't even get into any kind of bowl game (let alone a BCS bowl again), you are in effect admitting that the U's program is in a downward slide.

    And yes, I'm going there!

  • Dr. Chim Richalds ROUND HILL, VA
    May 2, 2013 1:12 p.m.

    So....Utah would be in the "3rd Tier of the Pac-12." Got it...Thanks!

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    May 2, 2013 1:02 p.m.


    "BYU coaches have been developing their players enough that they are able to both play in and win bowl games...And how well has Utah developed their players recently?"

    Since 2003, the Utes played in 9 bowl games, and went 8-1 [.889] -- which included 2 BCS bowl *wins* -- while your Indy-WACey program played in 8 bowl games, and went 6-2 [.750] without even a whiff of a BCS bowl *invitation*. So to answer your question...even BETTER than the cougars' coaches.

    Haha! I can't believe you went there.

  • Tators Hyrum, UT
    May 2, 2013 12:42 p.m.


    Actually, BYU coaches have been developing their players enough that they are able to both play in and win bowl games.
    And how well has Utah developed their players recently? Oh yea, they let them develop by experiencing what it feels like to have a losing record and sitting home eating popcorn while watching other teams play in bowl games. Quite the program.

    You'd better go back to your old "we're in a big conference and you're not" chant. But remember, it honestly doesn't take much of a football program to finish in any conference's cellar.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    May 2, 2013 12:37 p.m.

    Wiscougar fan - your first post was awesome, you should have left well alone. In those 11 years you are comparing recruiting, Utah is 8-3 against the y. Must be the coaching staffs!

    Go Utes!!

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 2, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    Re: DonMUSSwUtah

    I didn't say any of those things. Let me paraphrase what I did say in my two posts on this thread...

    1. Congrats to Utah for establishing a NFL pipeline.
    2. Utah has out-recruited BYU in the last three years, and BYU out-recruited Utah head-to-head before then (at least according to two recruiting websites).

    Clearly I have said nothing about the actual on-field success or failures of either team. If you'd like me to comment on that feel free to ask, but I won't offer my opinions on a Utah discussion board unless I am asked because I am most definitely a BYU fan Not an anti-Utah troll) and have no need to stir the pot.

  • DontMUSSwUtah SLC, UT
    May 2, 2013 12:27 p.m.


    So what you are saying is that Utah coaches do a much better job of developing talent than BYU coaches? Or are BYU coaches just horrible at taking their "top" talent, and making it draftable? Maybe a little of both?

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 2, 2013 11:57 a.m.

    RE: Frantic and Emotional

    Instead of writing what BYU fans know and believe (even though we all know you are indeed an expert in knowing the thoughts and feelings of people you dislike), why not just post the facts.

    Football recruiting (Rivals, Scout, AVERAGE)

    2013 (44, 54, 49)
    2012 (28, 32, 30)
    2011 (37, 40, 38.5)
    2010 (32, 50, 41)
    2009 (44, 55, 49.5)
    2008 (60, 65, 62.5)
    2007 (71, 66, 68.5)
    2006 (55, 60, 57.5)
    2005 (59, 71, 65)
    2004 (76, 68, 72)
    2003 (90, 95, 92.5)
    2002 (77, 84, 80.5)

    2013 (70, 63, 66.5)
    2012 (61, 60, 60.5)
    2011 (62, 66, 64)
    2010 (40, 22, 31)
    2009 (50, 40, 45)
    2008 (83, 57, 70)
    2007 (56, 42, 49)
    2006 (67, 46, 56.5)
    2005 (63, 53, 58)
    2004 (65, 55, 60)
    2003 (108, 59, 83.5)
    2002 (36, 46, 41)

    I didn't include ESPN or 247 because I'm not an insider or member, but I'd love to see the numbers if anyone has them.

    Results: Utah clearly has the recruiting edge for the last three years, BYU clearly dominant before then.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    May 2, 2013 9:46 a.m.

    Silent Lurker:

    Yes, Utah coaches do a better job of developing our athletes, but that's not the only reason why we annually produce more NFL talent than our Indy-WACey little brother. That whole "BYU is winning the recruiting wars each year" is just something that cougar fans [frantically and emotionally] "say". They don't really "believe" it. They KNOW they're getting poned in the recruiting wars. It's all over the internet via the more well-known recruiting sites (i.e. Rivals, Scout, ESPN, 24/7). They can "deny" the validity of those ranking organizations, but we all know that they know full well those "denials" are just desperate deflections.

    Keep in mind how difficult it is to coach up unheralded 2-star athletes all the way to Draft Day. And while I'm aware that Whittingham has done that with some of HIS 2-star athletes, that just brings us back to Utah's coaches doing a better job at developing our players.

  • Silent Lurker Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 2, 2013 7:50 a.m.

    Two Questions: If BYU is winning the recruiting wars each year as Bronko and their fan base claims, then why does Utah produce more NFL draftees? Could it be that Utah coaches do a better job of developing its athletes?

  • Wiscougarfan River Falls, WI
    May 2, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    I love how Chris B. will ruin a legitimate leg up on BYU (significantly more players drafted into the NFL at the U) by saying something like "we'll be smelling roses." Let me also note that in addition to this optimistic prognosticating, another Ute "fan" is the one talking about BYU preseason glory. BYU fans rarely talk about any "Quest," we've learned our lesson.

    Congrats to the Utes on creating a NFL pipeline. While it is surprising to me you can't deny that the Utes program has come a very long way in the last decade. Congrats to Utes but Go Cougs!

  • Who am I sir? Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 1, 2013 10:43 p.m.

    "For those wondering, long-time archrival BYU has...." My guess... very few wonder! BYU fans are aware of their recent dearth (1 in 3 years). Some U fans, if it means anything to them, are also aware. To an increasing number of U fans how they Y is doing means nothing. Some Utah State fans probably are gloating over their two in each of the past two years success. For the remaining "fans" - "who cares".

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 9:00 p.m.

    We'll be smelling roses in the next couple years.

    Mark it down

  • GO_COUGARS! Provo, UT
    May 1, 2013 8:29 p.m.

    "The last ten years have been remarkable for Utah's football program."

    Not as remarkable as ours. Don't they know about our win/loss records vs. teams from Idaho?

  • AZUTE1 Mesa, AZ
    May 1, 2013 7:12 p.m.


    "Since 2003, the Utes have had 27 players get their names called at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. "

    Our annual pre-season NC--

    "For those wondering, long-time archrival BYU has had 14 players drafted since 2003."

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    May 1, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    Good to see the U in a good place after the wasteland that was the 70's through mid 90's...

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 1, 2013 2:57 p.m.

    Just another reason the future(and present) of football in Utah,

    is UTAH.