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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Brighton's Sione Heimuli-Lund powers into the end zone as Brighton and Jordan play Friday, Sept. 25, 2015, at Brighton. Jordan won 51-49.
They’ve always helped me out. I knew they’d be supportive because they’ve been absolutely great. —Sione Lund, on Stanford's coaches

SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah’s most highly recruited prep football players has transferred from Stanford to Utah to be closer to home.

Former Brighton High star running back Sione Lund was redshirting at Stanford this season when he withdrew in October and returned home. He enrolled at Utah this week and expects to join the football team in January.

The 19-year-old said leaving Stanford was an extremely difficult decision, but he said he already feels better emotionally being home near his family in Utah.

“I’ve had a lot of criticism leaving that opportunity,” Lund told the Deseret News on Wednesday afternoon. “It breaks my heart not to go back because of the support of the people there. But I knew it was in my best interest and my well-being that being home would be best for me. I think I can be successful as a player and a student here.”

After a month of discussing options with his family, Stanford coaches and Utah coaches, Lund said he felt he would ultimately be happier and healthier in Utah. He said he will miss the Cardinal coaches and players, who have offered him nothing but support throughout the past month.

“Those guys down there are like my best friends,” he said of Stanford’s coaches and players. “They will always be some of my best friends. They called me this morning. It’s super hard not to go back because of the relationship we’ve built.”

Lund was grateful for the guidance of coaches at both schools, especially Stanford head coach David Shaw, as he wrestled with the decision.

“They’ve always helped me out,” Lund said. “I knew they’d be supportive because they’ve been absolutely great.”

He is officially a walk-on in January, and he’s not concerned about Utah’s depth at running back, which includes sophomore running back Zack Moss, who surpassed 1,000 yards rushing this season in Utah’s win over Colorado. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Lund rushed for 3,714 yards and 36 touchdowns in his high school career.

“For me, it doesn’t matter, to be honest,” said Lund, who was one of just two Utah football players to earn four-star ratings as sophomores. “I want to be the best wherever I go. I am a competitor. We’re going to be teammates, but I’m going to compete with whoever I have to and just give it my best.”