SALT LAKE CITY — It didn’t take long for the Utah Utes to land a big one during the new early signing period that began Wednesday. At 8:37 a.m., they received a letter of intent from highly coveted quarterback Jack Tuttle of Mission Hills High in San Marcos, California.
“It’s really nice to make it official,” said Tuttle, who verbally committed to Utah over a year ago. “I appreciate everything my coaches, my teammates at my current school have done for me as well as my future coaches at Utah.”
Tuttle added that it’s “an honor to be part of this Utah football team” and he’s very excited. His plans are to enroll at the U. in January in order to participate in winter conditioning and then spring ball.
“It was important to do this because I need to understand and thoroughly understand the playbook, progressions, know my teammates and kind of get my feet wet — get up to the college speed and be prepared for anything and anything I can do for the team,” Tuttle said. “So I think it was the right thing to do.”
Tuttle plans to come in and work for the starting job at Utah.
“My intention is to come in and compete my butt off and do whatever I can for this football team right now — whatever that may be,” said Tuttle, who had kind things to say about current Utah starter Tyler Huntley. “He’s a great guy, a great player. He did a good job this season.”
Tuttle is looking forward to working with offensive coordinator Troy Taylor, who is completing his first season with the Utes.
“Troy Taylor is a great football mind and great coach. I have so much respect for him and what he’s doing and what he plans to do at Utah,” Tuttle said. “I can’t wait to get working with him and play for him.”
In addition to Tuttle, Utah also secured signed letters on the first day from offensive lineman Braeden E. Daniels (Hebron HS, Texas), defensive lineman Jeremiah Jordan (Mount San Jacinto College, California), defensive back Malone Mataele (Santa Margarita Catholic HS, California), wide receiver Terrell Perriman (Miami Central HS, Florida) and linebacker Bryant Pirtle (Pima CC, Arizona).
“We feel this is a great start to our 2018 signing class,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said in a released statement. “Things went as anticipated and we were able to address needs at several positions with this group. We signed a high-profile quarterback in Jack Tuttle, two junior college players who should give us immediate help at defensive end and linebacker, as well as three freshmen, which include a cornerback, a receiver and an offensive lineman.”
Tuttle, considered a four-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals, was the San Diego Section Player of the Year after passing for 3,171 yards and 41 touchdowns. The pro-style quarterback, who is 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds, completed 205 of 295 passes (69 percent) and was intercepted just four times while leading Mission Hills to the San Diego Section Open Division championship game.
Recruiting expert Dan Sorensen, publisher of UteZone.com, said it was a huge deal for Utah to sign Tuttle. The news is big on a variety of fronts.
“He is the highest-rated quarterback that the University of Utah has ever signed,” said Sorensen, who noted that Tuttle was an Elite 11 participant and performed well at the camp.
Sorensen noted Alabama, LSU and USC showed interest in Tuttle and offered him scholarships, despite his early verbal commitment to the Utes.
“All of this happened after he committed to Utah and he held true to that commitment and said no to some of the biggest programs in the entire country who absolutely wanted him,” Sorensen explained. “That says a lot about the kid.”
Sorensen added that Tuttle really believes in the future of the Utah football program.
“To have someone that talented at that position, in that high profile of a position, is really critical for the future, especially, of the Utah offense,” Sorensen said.
Tuttle, who won the 2017 Silver Pigskin Award as the most outstanding high school football player in San Diego County, finished his three-year prep career with 7,179 yards passing and 69 touchdowns.
Utah’s other signees also have impressive backgrounds.
— Daniels (6-4, 284) is a first-team, all-district honoree from Carrollton, Texas. The three-star recruit is also skilled in track, placing third in area and district throwing the shot put.
— Jordan (6-4, 233) recorded 45 tackles last season. The former Stone Mountain, Georgia, prep star had 12 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
— Mataele (5-10, 177) is slated to be a safety at Utah. His versatility led to playing multiple positions in high school. Besides returning kickoffs and punts, he scored nine touchdowns rushing and four receiving. Mataele recorded four tackles and two pass breakups on defense.
— Perriman (5-11, 182) ranked among the top receivers in Miami last season with 35 catches for 671 yards and seven touchdowns. The 5-foot-11, 182-pound receiver is also an accomplished sprinter in track. His uncle Brett Perriman was a receiver at the University of Miami and played in the NFL from 1988-97.
— Pirtle (6-2, 227) racked up 148 tackles and 43 sacks while helping DeSales High in Louisville, Kentucky, win back-to-back state championships. At Pima Community College in Arizona, Pirtle netted 101 tackles and eight sacks over the 2016 and 2017 seasons.