Utah's defensive front has thickened up.
Concerns that heavy graduation losses and offseason departures may have left the Utes a little thin on the line have been addressed.
Folau "Junior" Tuione, a 6-foot-3, 249-pound defensive end from El Camino College in California, has signed a financial aid agreement with Utah and will join the team this fall choosing the Utes over offers from BYU and Oregon State.
"I'm coming to play right away," Tuione said. "I just felt like Utah was the place for me."
Tuione, who played for El Camino last season after serving an LDS Church mission in Panama, is eager to play for the Utes. He has family in the Salt Lake City area and "can't wait" to face the likes of Michigan and BYU this fall. Utah's sports medicine program was another factor.
"He's a very, very gifted and athletic young man," said defensive coordinator Gary Andersen. "We're asking him to come in and be in the defensive front rotation. That's the bottom line."
The 21-year-old brings depth to a position where the Utes were a bit thin.
Tuione, from the Los Angeles area, originally committed to play at the University of Idaho but opted to serve a mission.
Upon his return, coaching changes at Idaho led to a decision to play for El Camino instead. Tuione, who spent the past year getting back into shape, was an academic qualifier out of high school. He officially signed with Utah last Monday and can play for the Utes for three seasons.
Utah has also picked up its sixth early commitment for 2009. Also, Travis Cobb, a 6-0, 178-pound receiver at Blinn College in Texas, plans to join the Utes next spring.
"I feel like it's a good place for me to go," said Cobb, who also received offers from UAB, Arizona and Ohio.
Utah's coaching staff, particularly recruiter Morgan Scalley, were the major factors in Cobb's decision.Cobb is expected to join Jordan High lineman Vyncent Jones, receiver Jamal Smith (Oxnard HS, Calif.), safety Jarrad Stewart (Pearland HS, Texas), running back Chris Brown (Newbury Park HS, Calif,) and wide receiver C.J. Porter (Concord HS, Calif.) in the Utes' next recruiting class.
E-mail: [email protected]