SALT LAKE CITY — In addition to hosting the USC Trojans Saturday night, the Utes entertained their fair share of high school recruits.
The most notable of the visitors — four-star, dual-threat quarterback Jayden Daniels.
This season, as the starting quarterback at Cajon High School in San Bernardino, California, Daniels has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 39 touchdowns in nine games played.
A four-star recruit, according to each of the big three of 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals, Daniels was on the sideline during pregame festivities where he interacted with current and former Utes and posed for a photo or two with fans.
“This scene, the college atmosphere here is real different,” Daniels said. “It is a different vibe, but I like it.”
By way of comparison, prior to his visit to Salt Lake City, Daniels took official visits to both UCLA and Cal.
As for what the most memorable aspect of his visit to Utah was, Daniels was quick to answer.
“Just talking to the players, hanging out with them,” he said, though coming in a close second was “the pregame, seeing the electricity, the energy in the stadium.”
Also in attendance was Orem High School standout and four-star wide receiver Puka Nacua. The younger brother of current Utah wideout Samson Nacua, Puka Nacua committed to USC this summer.
East High School was also well represented by future collegiate talents.
Siaki "Apu" Ika, a 6-4, 340-pound senior defensive tackle, Tutan Spann, a senior running back, Charlie Vincent, another senior back, and Voi Tunuufi, a sophomore tight end/fullback, were all on hand at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
HOMEGROWN TALENT: A pair of former Utes took in the contest as well, Garrett Bolles and Tim Patrick.
Bolles is a second-year left tackle with the Denver Broncos. He started all 16 games for Denver in 2017, and it has been more of the same this season.
Bolles has started all seven of the Broncos' contests in 2018, the most recent being Denver’s 45-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
As for Patrick, the wide receiver is in his first season, also with the Broncos. Patrick has appeared in all seven games this year, registering catches in a loss to the Jets and a victory over the Raiders. All told, Patrick has two receptions for 32 yards.
WELCOME BACK: Chris Hill, the university’s former athletic director, was honored at midfield during the game with a commemorative video.
BIGWIGS ON HAND: A trio of NFL scouts were on hand to watch the Utes and the Trojans, including Chris McGaha with the Indianapolis Colts, Terry Wooden with the New Orleans Saints and Shepley Heard with the Atlanta Falcons.14 comments on this story
There were also representatives from two bowls on hand, including John Chalker (Holiday Bowl), Bill Coon and Bernie Olivas (Sun Bowl).
Utah has never made an appearance in the Holiday Bowl, which traditionally pits the Pac-12 against the Big Ten.
As for the Sun Bowl, Utah has made a pair of visits to El Paso for postseason play, first in 1939 — Utah defeated New Mexico 26-0 — and again in 2011. The 2011 contest, a game Utah won 30-27 over Georgia Tech, holds the distinction of being the only Sun Bowl decided in overtime.