Their circumstances are different, but the end result is the same for Cottonwood's Lynn Katoa, Judge Memorial's Lewis Walker and Park City's Colt Nichter.
The three standout Utah high school football players will sign with out-of-state Division I football programs today.
Katoa, the most recruited player in the state this year, committed to Colorado and is already attending classes there. Walker (Hawaii) and Nichter (Vanderbilt) will sign with their respective schools today.
Katoa had his pick of where he would end up playing. He had more than 70 scholarship offers, and he was expected to sign with either Texas or Oklahoma. Instead, he signed with the Big 12's Buffaloes and will play against both of them.
Walker committed to Hawaii at the close of a recruiting trip he made there in mid-January. He was offered a scholarship by the Warriors when June Jones was their head coach, then briefly had it withdrawn when Jones left for SMU. New coach Greg McMackin, however, made good on his school's original offer when Walker visited his campus.
Walker said he's comfortable with leaving the state, although it will be hard for him to not be able to see his family when he wants.
"Going out of state is a big commitment," Walker said. "I'm pretty excited just to be going to a successful, great program."
Nichter was recruited by in-state schools with Weber State being his most serious suitor. He and his father worked hard to find as many programs as possible to play for, and he's still somewhat stunned that he's going to play in the SEC.
Nichter originally committed to Washington State, but felt more comfortable at Vanderbilt and changed his mind.
"When my dad (contacted) Vanderbilt, I said there's no way an SEC school is going to come out to Park City," Nichter said. "It's not only an SEC school, it's also an amazing academic school."
There are other players leaving the state in addition to the big three Division I recruits. Alta kicker Jerad Fehr is going to play at Navy. Lone Peak twins Kyle and Kevin Whimpey will sign with the Big Sky Conference's Idaho State. The Bengals are members of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), formerly known as Division I-AA.
Alta quarterback Ryan Rosenvall, the Deseret Morning News' 5A MVP, will play at Pasadena (Calif.) Junior College.
Although today is national signing day, the futures of some of the state's top players have yet to be determined. Alta linebacker Boo Anderson, the Deseret Morning News' 2007 Mr. Football, has yet to decide where he's going to play, although he's expected to walk on at Utah. Jordan receiver Cody Raymond, a three-time first-team all-state pick, may play at Snow after serving an LDS Church mission.Park City's Matt Wright, who led the state in rushing in 2007, will likely start his college career at an out-of-state junior college.
Player ... Pos. ... School ... Future
Lynn Katoa ... LB ... Cottonwood ... Colorado
Colt Nichter ... DL ... Park City ... Vanderbilt
Lewis Walker ... DB ... Judge Mem ... Hawaii
Kevin Whimpey ... DL ... Lone Peak ... Idaho St.
Kyle Whimpey ... DL ... Lone Peak ... Idaho St.
Jerad Fehr ... K ... Alta ... Navy