For Garett Bolles, deciding where he'd continue his college football career came down entirely to relationships.
The five-star offensive lineman, who prepped at Westlake High School and has played two seasons at Snow College, announced Monday morning that he's committed to Kyle Whittingham and the University of Utah, a decision he said came thanks to his relationships with God, his wife of three weeks, Natalie, and the Ute coaching staff.
“I just felt good," he said when reached by phone Monday morning. "I felt confident. I turned to the Lord in my decision and prayed with my wife, and we just both decided that this was the best decision for both of us, and I couldn’t be more proud to take my family up to Salt Lake and contribute to the offensive line up there. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Previously committed to BYU, the 6-foot-6, 300-plus pound Bolles has been one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the country over the last few months, with schools such as Michigan State, Florida, Oregon and Arkansas interested in his services.
He was recently named the top junior college prospect in the 2016 class by Scout.com.
While he said going to one of those schools presented an enticing opportunity, Bolles said he's long liked the Utah coaching staff and has been leaning over the last few weeks toward joining the Utes.
“It was a hard decision," he said. "Going through the recruiting process, no one really understands how difficult it can be. You’ve just got to know what you want. I knew that I needed to have a good relationship with my offensive line coach and the offensive coordinator and my head coach. That’s what Utah gave me. I just felt like Utah was the fit for me. I felt like it was going to be a family atmosphere for my wife and everything. I couldn’t be more proud to become a Ute.”
Bolles, who had a rocky upbringing that included a 2010 arrest for his part in vandalizing the Lehi High School football field, has since settled down, a path he's looking forward to continuing when he moves to Salt Lake after finishing at Snow this semester.
He'll have three years to complete two years of eligibility.
“I’m just excited to stay in my home state and help Utah as much as I can," he said. "I’m really looking forward to the fan base. I’m just really grateful for everyone who has been a part of this and I’m just really grateful and honored to become a Ute.”
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.