To be able to go out on my mission and come back and play Pac-12 football, I can’t really think of anything better than that. —Utah commit Chad Hekking
Monday night began a crazy 40 hours for recruiting.
At 9:03 p.m. on Monday, Vacaville High School (California) quarterback Chad Hekking posted on Twitter that he had officially committed to Utah.
The 6-foot-4 Hekking wants to play quarterback in the college ranks, but with his size and athleticism, don’t be surprised if he finds a home somewhere else at the U. Hekking’s brother, Brock, is an all Mountain West defensive end at Nevada, but he doesn’t want to be compared to him.
“Me and my brother — we’re close, but we stay far apart in the sports world,” Hekking said. “We are two different, we don’t really compare, we don’t like that. Going to Nevada would mean following in his footsteps again and that was something from the get go that I wanted to try and avoid.
“(The Utes) were recruiting me as an athlete, but a QB first. So I’ll go up there and get a chance to throw the ball around and see what I can do.”
Vaccaville runs the run-heavy wing-T offense, so Hekking’s stats don’t jump off the board. He does have 10 touchdown passes through his first four games.
Hekking is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is planning on serving a mission before enrolling at Utah.
“I want to go on my mission and they have a lot of returned missionaries,” Hekking said. “They like them and they really push their kids to go out on missions. To be able to go out on my mission and come back and play Pac-12 football, I can’t really think of anything better than that.”
Before he leaves for an LDS mission, Hekking will have to clean up the mullet that he so proudly wears. His hair style got Utah director of player personnel Fred Whittingham Jr. to tweet out using the hashtag: #BusinessInTheFrontPartyInTheBack.
“(The mullet) something I kind of hold proud, gives us a little extra push out on the field,” Hekking said. “Gives us a little mullet power.”
Shortly after Hekking announced his news, BYU fans had something to cheer about as well. Hurricane High linebacker Jeremiah Ieremia announced via Twitter that he was going to be a Cougar. Ieremia held offers from Boise State, Oregon State and Washington.
Little late but I've decided to make a verbal commitment to BYU this morning. Go cougars!!— jeremiah ieremia (@15jeremier) September 30, 2014
Ieremia told the Deseret News’ Brandon Gurney, “It's a load off of me and my family, and I know it was the right decision. I thought about all my options very carefully, prayed about it a lot, and just felt strongly BYU was the place I needed to be.”
Another prospect came to that conclusion recently as well. On Sept. 24, Tevita Mounga, a 295-pound defensive tackle from Viesta Murrieta High School (California), verbally committed to the Cougars. Mounga held offers from Colorado, Arizona and Utah, among others.
Tuesday brought even more in-state recruiting news, with Utah picking up two more commitments.
Whittingham’s Twitter account has served as a bat signal for Utah fans, sending out hints when a recruit has committed. The bat signal shown bright when Whittingham tweeted out, “It's a GREAT day to be a UTE! Recruiting NFL bodies.”
Moments later, multiple outlets reported that Tavon Cox, a linebacker from Haines City, Florida, had verbally committed to Utah, continuing the recent Florida recruiting pipeline. But the day wasn't done for the Utes just yet.
A few hours later, the bat signal was spotted again when Whittingham tweeted out, “It's a GREAT day to be a UTE. Trifecta.”
Caleb Repp, a wide receiver from Rancho Cucamonga, California, then tweeted a picture of himself in a Utah jersey with the caption, “Just committed.”
The fun didn’t end there. Utah and BYU may not be playing on the gridiron this season, but they seem to still be paying attention to each other — at least on social media.
After the Utes had secured their third commitment in the span of less than 24 hours, BYU’s director of player personnel Geoff Martzen tweeted out, “Quality over quantity.”
Whittingham quickly responded with his own tweet saying, “Substance over hype.”
Oh the joys of the Holy War.
Just when things appeared to be done, more news erupted. At 10:57 a.m. Wednesday Nick Carman, an offensive lineman from Arizona, tweeted, "I've decided to commit to play football at the University of Utah next year!"
I've decided to commit to play football at the University of Utah next year! #GoUtes— Nick Carman (@nick_carman5) October 1, 2014
Carman is listed as a three-star recruit on ESPN and a two star on Rivals.
Whittingham finished off the recruiting frenzy with an appropriate tweet, "Sometimes when it rains, it pours. It's a GREAT day to be a UTE!"
With five more in the fold since last week, let’s look at what the previous commits are up to.
Chris Barr, WR, Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Florida)
Trinity was on a bye this week.
Cody Barton, OLB, Brighton High School (Salt Lake City)
Barton has been one of the most active recruits this month, but this past week is one I’m sure he and his Brighton teammates would like to forget. The Bengals were dismantled 24-0 by Bingham. Barton did show some pass catching chops in the contest, though, pulling in two catches for 35 yards in the loss.
Branden Bowen, OL, Corner Canyon High School (Draper, Utah):
Corner Canyon demolished Timpanogos 48-14 on Friday, but a potentially troubling tweet was sent out by Bowen on Sunday that said, “My knee is still messed. What is wrong with my body?”
We mentioned last week that Bowen had received an offer from Ohio State and plans on taking a visit to the Horseshoe in November. However, his tweet in response to Repp’s commitment should help ease some troubled Ute fans minds. Bowen tweeted out, “welcome to the fam bro.”
Jake Grant, OL, Horizon High School (Scottsdale, Arizona):
Grant is anchoring a front line that has put up 40 or more points in its last four contests, including a season-high 68 points on Friday.
The future Ute is also feeling the pain of Utah’s 28-27 gut-wrenching loss on Saturday, but offered up some advice over Twitter, “Tough loss. Keep your heads up #UteNation its over learn from it and now let's focus on next weeks mission.”
Tough loss. Keep your heads up #UteNation its over learn from it and now let's focus on next weeks mission.— Jake Grant (@jakegrant76) September 28, 2014
Michael Jacquet III, athlete, Central High School (Beaumont, Texas):
Jacquet quarterbacked his team to a 56-24 victory. For the game he finished 12 of 19 for 291 yards and four touchdowns, including a nicely thrown deep ball for a score.
Chayden Johnston, K, Bingham High School (South Jordan, Utah):
Johnston connected on a 30-yard field goal to open the scoring in Bingham’s 24-0 victory over Brighton. His more impressive feat, however, came on a kickoff.
The state’s top kicker's biggest feat of the night, though, was when he drilled a kickoff through the uprights, showcasing his superb leg strength.
Justice Murphy, WR, Evergreen High School (Vancouver, Washington):
Murphy had four catches for 60 yards to lead Evergreen in receiving. Not much went right for Murphy’s team though, as it fell in blowout fashion 49-7.
Murphy is returning from an early season injury and is not at 100 percent. He gave some recovery information on his Twitter account posting, “Sucks Not being quite back to health yet but gettin there. Gotta give props to camas and there coaches tho for doin there thing last night. I guess you can call it ignorant for tryin to come back early on an injury, but they don't understand the love I have for my teammates.”
Donzale Roddie, WR, Paramount High School (Paramount, California):
Roddie has had back-to-back impressive games for Paramount. After finishing with over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown on offense and two interceptions on defense in his team's previous game, Roddie was even better on Friday. In a 38-10 Paramount win Roddie caught two touchdowns, and was even better on the defensive side. He had two pass breakups and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Taylor Thomas, RB, Ed H. White High School (Jacksonville, Florida):
In this space last week we mentioned a tweet that Thomas’ teammate Javarius Davis sent out in which he made a bet that if Utah beats USC, he will commit to Utah. We called it “tongue-in-cheek.” We’re back-pedaling hard from that statement.
Since last week, Davis, a four-star athlete according to Scout, has de-committed from North Carolina and tweeted he is taking a trip to Utah with Thomas. Davis also re-tweeted a photo of him with a Ute logo in the background. Utah will be competing with some of college football’s traditional powers as Davis holds offers from USC, Florida and Michigan among others.
Taking a visit to Utah with main man @Grind_Shine2 soon ✈️✈️— G.O.E (@javariusdavis1) September 25, 2014
Thomas may be doing some good work on the recruiting trail, but he is also torching opposing defenses. Thomas rushed 18 times for 223 yards and scored twice in White’s 40-7 win.
George Wilson, WR, Tustin High School (Tustin, California):
The versatile Wilson finished with 211 yards passing to go along with 45 yards and two touchdowns rushing in Tustin’s 20-17 loss.
Tuli Wily-Matagi, athlete, Kahuku High School (Kahuku, Hawaii):
Wily-Matagi has been playing quarterback for Kahuku, but his abilities as a passer is not what has gotten him recruited. The sure handed Wily-Matagi is expected to play tight end when he arrives at Utah. Wily-Matagi hasn’t been excellent under center for the Red Raiders this season, so on Friday they started a new QB in hopes the future Ute could help them in the pass-catching department. The move didn’t move the needle much, as Kaihuku was limited to just 59 yards of offense in its 21-14 victory.
Riley Burt, athlete, Box Elder High School (Brigham City, Utah):
Burt was averaging nearly 100 yards rushing per game heading into Friday, but was limited to 45 yards on just eight carries. The Box Elder offense never could get off the ground, losing to Roy 31-6.
Akile Davis, WR, DeSoto High School (DeSoto, Texas):
Davis caught six passes for 62 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown. He found the end zone again on a 59-yard punt return in DeSoto’s 53-0 victory.
Devin Kaufusi, LB, Timpview High School (Provo, Utah):
Kaufusi is part of a strong Timpview defense that was again dominant. The T-Birds backed up their shutout against Springville with a 45-10 victory over Maple Mountain.
Dayan Lake, athlete, Northridge High School (Layton, Utah):
Lake put up some eye-popping numbers last week, rushing 27 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-27 defeat at the hands of Weber.
Lake also made time to congratulate Ieremia on his commitment to the Cougars, posting on Twitter, “S/O to my boy (Ieremia) for finally committing to BYU! I'll see you soon down in St. George fam.”
David Lui, DE, Pittsburg High School (Pittsburg, California):
Lui had three solo tackles and hurried the quarterback once in Pittsburg’s 13-7 loss. The 13 points were the first points the Pittsburg defense has given up in three weeks.
Will Sedgwick, LB, Laguna Hills High School (Laguna Hills, California):
The time-table for Sedgwick’s return from injury is getting smaller. Expect the future Cougar to be back on the field in mid-to-late October.
Kody Wilstead, QB, Pine View High School (St. George, Utah):
Wilstead had his roughest outing of the season Friday in Pine View's 35-21 loss to Desert Hills. He finished the game 17-of-34 for 179 yards, throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions. His second interception on the night was the death knell for Pine View. With the Panthers trailing 28-21 and backed up near their own goal line, Wilstead was hurried and his pass was intercepted.
Wilstead stayed down after being hit in the midsection on the play. He walked off the field under his own power.