National Signing Day may have come and gone, but its effects are still being felt. Take, for example, the many national stories grading the results.
CBSSports, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report … the list goes on and on of publications that set out to grade Wednesday’s finalized recruiting classes.
The Utah Utes made a few of the publications, as did the Utah State Aggies.
ESPN gave Utah a C for their 61st ranked class, noting that “the Utes continue to win games and add solid, need-filling players on the recruiting trail. Offensive line was a key position of need in the 2019 cycle, and the staff responded with ESPN JC 50 OT Bamidele Olaseni; three-star OGs Sataoa Laumea and Marist Talavou; and three-star OTs Luke Felix-Fualalo and juco LaColby Tucker.”
More than that, Utah added “playmakers at wide receiver” and a couple of “need-fillers in the secondary.”
CBSSports didn’t make mention of the Utes’ class specifically, but did mention that Utah was in the running for four-star running back Jordan Wilmore — who they did sign — as well as four-star wide receiver Puka Nacua.
As for the Aggies, well Bleacher Report had only good things to say, after a manner of speaking.
“Utah State's recruiting profile in past years was abysmal, as they failed to break the top 90 in any year on 247Sports' database. That changed this year with a respectable jump up to 84th from 109th,” Ian Wharton wrote. “Eighteen of their 22 commits are 3-stars, which will dramatically raise the floor of the program and serve as the foundation for the foreseeable future. Expect to see several on the field this fall.”
Sports Illustrated refrained from mentioning any one of Utah’s three FBS programs, but Nacua once again drove the conversation, only this time as part of a poor grade for the USC Trojans.
“The Trojans only signed two of top 20 players in California this cycle, a concerning development for Clay Helton's regime to say the least, and they will have to wait on four-star WR Puka Nacua, the top player in the state of Utah who elected not to sign on Wednesday after being committed to USC but visiting Oregon, UCLA and Washington.”
Til death do us part
Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina penned a few thoughts Wednesday regarding LeBron James’ advice to his young Laker teammates, John Wall’s torn Achilles, NBA All-Star weekend’s celebrity game and much more.
First and foremost, however, he addressed the continued fallout behind the New Orleans Saints not making it to Super Bowl LIII.
Specifically, after reminding readers that the genteel people of New Orleans boycotted the Super Bowl in historic numbers, he brought to the forefront a fan who may have taken the boycott a little too far.
According to Traina, Henry Jaume, a New Orleans native, Army veteran, police officer and most importantly a Saints fan, passed away on Super Bowl Sunday.
The opening line of his obituary was, “Henry A. Jaume, Sr., age 65, Passed away on Sunday, February 3, 2019 at 1:00 P.M. Determined not to watch Super Bowl LIII."
“We don't know if Jaume requested that line or if it was the work of family members, but you have to appreciate the sense of humor,” Traina quipped.
Pac-12 gymnastics teams stay on top (Pac-12)
With the NBA’s trade deadline drawing closer and closer — all trades must be final by 1 p.m. MST today — would a superstar come to Utah of their own free will, with the basketball fit as the primary motivation? What would that even look like?
Those questions were posed by Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale on Twitter Wednesday in response to New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis' statement that he wants to play for a title contender, and thus needs out of New Orleans.
After making that demand, in what seems ages ago now, Davis subsequently asked for a trade to three potential lottery teams (Lakers, Clippers and Knicks), along with the Eastern Conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks.8 comments on this story
Favale tried to expose, or at the very least make light of Davis’ appeared hypocrisy, while championing the cause of the Jazz in the process.
And finally, part two…
Nacua was undecided as of Wednesday night as to what school he will attend next year, with more than a few Pac-12 schools still in the running, including USC, Washington, and of course, Utah.
The lack of clarity for his future did not deter him from wishing some of his former teammates well on their respective college choices, however, including Utah State commits Cooper Legas and Hunter Hill and BYU commit Jake Pedersen.