Utah has wrapped up most of its recruiting for 2013 and could sign over 30 prospects come Feb. 6. A total of 26 prospects have already pledged to coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff in what looks to be a solid and well-rounded class, according to recruiting experts.
Utah has just one four-star commit, as evaluated by rivals.com, but has 21 three-star prspects, according to the same service.
"I really like this class and feel it's as complete of a class as coach Whittingham has signed," said utezone.com Senior Editor Dan Sorensen. "This year doesn't have as many four-star guys as last year and isn't as top heavy as other classes, but the players signed are solid top to bottom and at every position."
Utah isn't in the hunt for many of the four- and five-star prospects it was a year ago and that may be the result of an untypically down year for the program. The Utes weren't bowl eligible this past season for the first time since 2002, but remain confident they'll attract the type of talent to put them back on track.
The 2013 class looks particularly strong at the quarterback and wide receiver positions, according to Sorensen.
"I think we saw last year how important the quarterback position is and Utah has a couple of great quarterback prospects committed in this year's class," Sorensen says. "I also really like the wide receivers that are committed. There are a lot of playmakers with a lot of speed in the wide receiver group that I think fans can be very excited about."
The most immediate needs for 2013 are players who can contribute immediately along the defensive front and in the defensive backfield. Sorensen believes Utah will look to sign at least one more junior college defensive tackle in hopes of supplimenting the losses of Star Lotulelei, Joe Kruger and David Kruger.
Here's a position-by-position look at the Utes' 2013 recruiting class:
Utah scored big with the early commitment of 6-foot-2 quarterback Conner Manning from Lake Forest, Calif. Manning set the field on fire and was widely considered to be the best quarterback talent in all of Orange County after a stellar senior season.
Utah also got a commitment from former four-star prospect Brandon Cox from Pasedena, Calif. The 6-foot-3 Cox suffered a serious injury that scared away many potential recruiters, but hopes to have his injury issues behind him.
At running back Utah will look to replace the departing Jon White and has three prospects committed at the position. The group is led by three-star speedster Devontae Booker (5-11,195) from American River junior college in Sacramento, Calif.
Utah's other running back commits include Dre'Vian Young (5-10, 180) from Houston, Texas, and Marcus Williams (5-11, 204) from Las Vegas.
Utah has an exciting group of receivers committed starting with Alta High's Harrison Handley (6-6, 210), who is likely to play tight end. Xavier Shepherd (6-0, 180) from Lakewood, Calif. is considered by most to be Utah's most exciting committed WR prospect.
Andre Lewis (6-3, 200) from Diablo Valley junior college will be looked at to contribute immediately, as will tight end Greg Reese (6-6, 245) from Western Arizona Junior College.
The Utes have five offensive line prospects committed who will work to add depth and even contribute immediately in 2013. Junior college transfer Andrew Albers (6-7, 310) from Orange Community College will certainly be looked at to play this coming year along with Diablo Valley's De'Ondre Wesley (6-6, 310).
Cottonwood High's Lo Falemaka (6-4, 250) was one of Utah's early commits and he joins with out-of-staters LeRoy Tanoa'i (6-4, 280) from Sherman Oaks, Calif. and Chase Dominguez from Lutheran High in Orange, Calif., who will be used for long-snapping.
Utah has three defensive line prospects committed for 2013, starting with three-star stud Sam Tevi (6-5, 255) from Euless, Texas. Tevi is joined by Vili Leveni (6-4, 220) from Hurst, Texas, and Myron Aiava (6-5, 270) from Westminster, Calif.
The Utes have just two linebacker commits for 2013, but both are local standouts. Brighton High's Uaea Masina (6-4, 200) was one of the top players in the state before going down with injury. Woods Cross High's Filipo Mokofisi (6-3, 210) has also committed.
Utah always attracts top defensive back talent and looks to sign another top group in 2013. Seven defensive backs are currently committed and several will be looked at to contribute immediately.
The group is led by cornerback Davion Orphey (6-1, 185) from Santa Ana Community College. Orphey is joined by safety prospect Tevin Carter (6-2, 220) from Los Angeles Southwest College.
Other commits at defensive back include Utah's latest commit, Hipolito Corporan (6-1, 190) from Houston Texas, as well as DJ Dean (5-11, 175) from Newton, Texas, Dominique Hatfield (5-11, 170) from Los Angeles, Calif., Carlos Henderson (5-10, 170) from New Orleans and Marcellus Pippins (5-10, 175) from El Cerrito, Calif.