A day after losing the "holy war" with BYU, the University of Utah won a recruiting battle with the Cougars.

David Kruger, a highly touted defensive lineman from Timpanogos High School in Orem, plans to sign a national letter of intent with the Utes in February and begin working out with the team next summer.

"I just felt like Utah was the right place to go," said Kruger, whose older brother Paul is a starting defensive end for the Utes as a redshirt freshman.

The younger Kruger, who is 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, made 107 tackles as a senior. He recorded 48 solo stops, 10 sacks and recovered a fumble.

As a tight end, Kruger made four catches and scored two touchdowns.

"I just felt really comfortable around the coaches at Utah," he said. "I felt comfortable around the coaches at BYU, but I just felt more naturally welcome there."

Kruger acknowledged it'll be nice to have his older brother around to help him make the transition to college football, but he credited defensive coordinator Gary Andersen for having a big influence on his decision to sign with Utah.

"He's such a good defensive coach," David Kruger said.

Kruger is hoping for an opportunity to start or get rotated in a lot as a freshman next fall. He'll likely serve an LDS Church mission after that.

The decision to give Utah a commitment ends a recruiting process that drew interest from several schools. Kruger said Utah and BYU were the finalists. Oregon, Oregon State and California were also in the mix, he said, as were a "bunch" of others.

"I just kind of wanted to get it off my back," Kruger said. "The bottom line is mostly it's a relief. I want to get up there (to Utah) and start. I want to get up there and work out in the summer."

Kruger attended Saturday's game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, but said he had pretty much made up his mind by then.

Kruger joins a recruiting class that also includes: offensive lineman Sam Brenner (Oceanside HS, Calif.), defensive back Lamar Chapman (El Camino CC, Calif.), tight end Siaki Cravens (Temecula Valley HS, Calif.), offensive lineman Zach Davila (Cienega HS, Ariz.), running back Ryan Lacy (Oakmont HS, Calif.), wide receiver Cole Loftin (Aledo HS, Texas), running back Luke Matthews (Desert Vista HS, Ariz.), wide receiver Kendrick Moeai (Copper Hills HS), defensive tackle Sealver Siliga (Copper Hills HS) and offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga (Bingham HS).

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com