CEDAR CITY — In recent years, the state of Utah has steadily produced more and more talent on the gridiron. Southern Utah definitely took notice.

The Thunderbirds snagged 24 letters of intent Wednesday, 18 of which are local players.

“Our 2013 signing class represents a banner year for us in recruiting Utah high schools,” SUU coach Ed Lamb said in a press release. “The talent and character of the in-state prospects this year blew me away. I can’t wait to get these young men on campus.”

In addition to the Utah signees, the Thunderbirds inked two players from California and one player each from Colorado and Arizona.

One of the standouts is Jordan High’s Zach Larsen, a catalyst on the offensive line for the 5A state champion Beetdiggers. SUU fans are very familiar with the Larsen family having watched his brother, Cody, earn All-America honors at defensive tackle during his time with the T-Birds.

Three players from Kearns High gave their thumbs-up to Southern Utah: brothers Lehi and Toa Afatasi and Deseret News first-team all-state running back James Felila.

Felila highlights a deep running back group including Greg Aspinal, who led 4A state champion Timpview on the ground last season.

SUU also received letters of intent from four St. George players: quarterback Ty Rutledge and offensive lineman Josh Anderson from Desert Hills and defensive linemen Weslee Moeai and Wesley Kauvaka from Pine View.

During the early signing period, SUU signed quarterback Aaron Cantu, who led the NJCAA with 3,358 passing yards last season, from East Los Angeles College.

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