Utah Utes football: Big recruiting weekend on tap for Utes

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  • raisedaute Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 3:29 p.m.

    We dont have a problem with JC players, just Ducky does.

    On a side note Junior Salt was one of the rugby players in Forever Strong.

    Jan. 15, 2012 11:28 a.m.

    I don't understand why some of you have issues with recruiting JC transfers.

    Signed John While IV - Utah's single season rushing leader.

    Jan. 13, 2012 4:13 p.m.

    Furthermore, of these JUCO recruits over the years, some of the alumni include:
    Jonathan Fanene (Cincinnati Bengals starter)
    Quinton Ganther (former NFL starter)
    Paul Soliai (Miami Dolphins starter)
    Brett Ratliff (Tampa Bay Bucs backup)
    Matt Asiata (Minnesota Vikings backup)
    Robert Johnson (Tennessee Titans backup)
    Koa Misi (Miami Dolphins starter)
    David Reed (Baltimore Ravens starting KR)
    Shaky Smithson (Green Bay Packers backup KR)

    Turning 15% of these recruits into NFL players and at least half of them into either starters or key contributors in college isn't too bad.

    Jan. 13, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    Contd. However, the fact that after our first year in the conference we've put together a higher-rated recruiting class so far than Washington, Arizona and ASU, and will likely finish with a better class than UCLA is very encouraging for the future of the program. JUCO recruiting will likely continue to be a more often used resource for Utah than most other schools in the conference, but with continued success, our high school recruiting is also almost certain to pick up for us.

    Jan. 13, 2012 3:11 p.m.

    While I'm not as attacking as Naval Vet and I do enjoy discussion more than smack talk, even your most civil discussion is still riddled with biases and false information. For instance: "I think jc players have long been good contributors to both BYU and utah's programs, but they have not signed them as that large a percentage of their recruiting classes before."

    This is entirely false. Past ten Utah recruiting classes:
    2011: 4/20 recruits were JUCO recruits (20%)
    2010: 3/23 JUCO recruits (13%)
    2009: 8/26 JUCO recruits (31%)
    2008: 5/16 JUCO recruits (31%)
    2007: 7/25 JUCO recruits (28%)
    2006: 5/25 JUCO recruits (20%)
    2005: 4/25 JUCO recruits (16%)
    2004: 6/25 JUCO recruits (24%)
    2003: 7/19 JUCO recruits (37%)
    2002: 6/21 JUCO recruits (29%)
    Total: 55/225 (24%)

    Pretty much par for the course, even lower than several years. I would love it if we could start getting a large number of top-rated high school recruits, but the fact will always be that we're not USC, Texas, Oklahoma or Florida.

  • Naval Vet Philadelphia, PA
    Jan. 13, 2012 12:23 p.m.


    "...most of the 'top' recruits that have committed to utah are jc transfers which begs a question, why can't utah get top ranked (4-5 star) high school recruits? They have one, Chase Hansen, and the rest are jc guys."

    As had been already mentioned, Utah has FIVE 4-star athletes, as was rated by Rivals. Of those 5 only 2 are JCs. Ergo, "most of the 'top' recruits that have committed to Utah ARE INDEED High School recruits. Fail on your part.

    If you wanted to include 3-star athletes as "top recruits", Utah currently has 19 committed recruits. Of those 19, 15 are 3- and 4-star recruits. Of those 15, 5 are JCs. Ergo, "most of the 'top' recruits that have committed to Utah ARE INDEED High School recruits. Again,...fail on your part.

    So despite being proven wrong, you tried to change the argument by citing Scout.

    "...according to scout utah has two 4 star recruits one of which is a JC player and one a hs player."

    Except that even with the Scout ratings, 1 out of 2 = HALF. And "half" is not "most". It's HALF! And grouping all the 3-star recruits in that metric, 7 out of those 10 recruits are....High Schoolers! Ergo, "most of the 'top' recruits that have committed to Utah ARE INDEED High School recruits. EPIC fail on your part.

    "...yes that is a large percentage of utah's class."

    I'm not sure what your point there is. Whether or not 26.3% defines "a LARGE percentage" is subjective and debatable, but what is NOT subjective OR debatable is that 26.3% most certainly is NOT classified as "most".

    Conclusion: You were wrong! Just admit it. Not admitting doesn't make you less wrong. It actually makes you even MORE wrong. And cowardly.

    And while you're admitting you were wrong, don't forget to admit that you were wrong about the Sun Bowl and Armed Forces Bowl audience. Utah's bowl game outdrew the cougars' in both television audience AND stadium attendance. Haha!

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:40 a.m.

    Now I can also tell you why I think this is happening. I think utah did pursue some top hs recruits, hoping their pac12 affiliation was going to get them a large precentage of thos higher rated recruits. I think they have found that is not going to happen at anywhere near the rate they had hoped it would. Those top guys are still mostly going to go to USC, Stanford, Oregon, Cal, Washington, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, etc.

    I heard an interview on the radio with a former washington st. qb who said that about 10 years ago when wsu went to the rose bowl they changed their recruiting tactics and tried to get more 4-5 star kids instead of the 3 star kids they have previously signed, and developed. He said that the diminishment of the program was a direct result of the change in recruiting tactics and that they did get a few more higher ranked recruits but lost focus of the hidden gems they had previously gotten and developed.

    utah has had similar success with the "hidden gem" types and changing their recruiting tactics may not be as good an idea as they 1st thought.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:14 a.m.


    "I realize that your MO is just to rile up Ute fans."

    I've been discussing this civily with you, you just seem to have run out of responses to me points. I'm not trying to "rile" anyone up although it appears I'm succeeding anyway which I think is simply a knee jerk reaction to anything I post.

    I think jc players have long been good contributors to both BYU and utah's programs, but they have not signed them as that large a percentage of their recruiting classes before. Usually jc guys are signed because they hope to fill an immediate need brought on by either graduation, injuries or because some of their high school recruits have not panned out. I doubt whittingham wants to make jc players such a large part of his recruiting classes on a regular basis. That tells us the utes have some deficiencies they are trying to address or they wouldn't be doing it. To pretend otherwise is simply sticking your head in the sand.

    Now you just need to hope it works and they fill the gaps until some hs recruits commit and develop.

    Jan. 13, 2012 12:00 a.m.

    Duckhunter, if you've paid attention to Utah recruiting over the years, JUCO recruiting has been a major factor in their success. Saying that it is "not good" to have 5 JUCO commits is a generalization, and it all has to do with utilization. I realize that your MO is just to rile up Ute fans. I also realize from the half dozen times you've brought this up that you wouldn't construct your own football team this way. But you also don't make $2M/year to make these decisions. I trust the guy with an undefeated season under his belt.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 8:07 p.m.


    And according to scout utah has two 4 star recruits one of which is a JC player and one a hs player.

    Utah has 5 jc commits, more than 25% of their 19 commitments, that is a lot, 2 more are 3 stars (including salt) and 2 more are 2 stars, and yes that is a large percentage of utah's class.

    Now once again there is nothing wrong with jc players but having them make up more than 25% of the recruting class is not good and shows a lack of high school commitments.

    Now perhaps utah simply thinks they have some major holes that need filling with players ready to contribute, which shows some past recruiting problems, or else they cannot fill the class with high school kids which shows some current recruiting problems. Now maybe if those jc players pan out they win more games which helps to convince more high school kids in the future to commit, I'm sure they are hoping that is the case, but any way you look at it signing that many jc players shows some problems in the program. Maybe not fatal problems, but problems none the less.

  • utahman19 Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 4:11 p.m.

    Duckhunter - You are wrong about Utah's top recruits being mostly JC transfers.

    The Utes currently have five 4-star recruit commitments as per Rivals - only two are from the JC ranks.

    They have four more 4-star recruits that have either visited or will visit Utah in the next few weeks - only one is from the JC ranks.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Duckhunter - Offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi out of Desert Pines HS in Las Vegas is also a 4 star commit to Utah. He's ranked the 25th best OT in the country by Scout. You can also find him on Rivals under the name Cedric Poutasi as a 4 star and the 7th best OG in the country. I'd say that is a solid pick up from the high school ranks.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 1:19 p.m.


    Well as I have said numerous times I seldom comment about the quality of individual recruits because I really don't know much about most of them. So really all we have to go by is what the recruiting sites tell us and according to Scout they are both 3stars. Rivals has Salt as a 4star JC recruit, which is different than a 4star high school recruit, and they also have Sai as a 3star recruit. I would agree that looking at the other schools a kid has offers from is a good barometer and I am in no way saying Salt isn't a good recruit, I frankly don't know.

    But I do think my other point is valid and that is that utah's top recruits for this class are mostly JC tranfers. Once again there is nothing wrong with jc tranfers but having them make up the bulk of the top recruits in your recruiting class is not good. It will be interesting to see if this is common for utah's future recruiting classes or if they have better luck recruiting high schoolers in the future. Without the jc kids utah's recruiting class would be very poor.

    Jan. 12, 2012 11:06 a.m.

    TexasGirl, yeah look up his high school recruiting video on youtube, he's pretty scary on the blitz!

    Duckhunter, the recruiting agency ratings often vary. Rivals has Salt as a top 10 JUCO player and a 4 star prospect. A better indication is the scholarship offers received, because that is the same across the board. No I haven't seen every one of their games, but I have taken a good luck at the recruiting tapes and would say from what I saw Sai was decent against lower-level to middling high school talent and Salt was dominant against decent to pretty good JUCO talent. That's my analysis. College coaches' analysis is that 10 BCS-conference teams wanted Salt on scholarship unconditionally on their team, while one MWC school wants Sai on scholarship unconditionally. Not much of a tradeoff.

  • TheHailstorm South Weber, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    @ Duckhunter
    " I seldom comment on recruits "
    That's all you've done in the last three days.
    That Sword of Damocles above your head is made by your own words.
    To me the article mentions that both wanted to play in front of their families and closer to home.
    I can understand that and appreciate Sai for looking into the Ute program , and more than a little happy that Salt is a UTE.. we'll know on Feb.1 so there no use hammering on one another until then.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    Kiha Sai "decommitted" from preferred walk-on / gray shirt status and committed as a full-scholarship player to Hawaii. Junior Salt was recruited by nearly every big name program in the country - he committed to Florida - then decommitted to Florida and committed at the U. I'd hardly call that trade-off a wash. Plus, Salt is ready to play immediately and is highly ranked as an offensive or defensive lineman. It sounds like he will play DT at the U, and that will be a very exciting combination of Star Lotulelei and Junior Salt up the middle.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 9:03 a.m.


    "Comparing Junior Salt to Kiha Sai as "offsetting." That's funny."

    So I suppose you personally have watched both play and know all about them? Both are 3 star oline prospects according to Scout with the difference being Sai is a high schooler and has 4 years of eligibility wereas as salt is a jc transfer with 2 years.

    For that matter most of the "top" recruits that have committed to utah are jc transfers which begs a question, why can't utah get top ranked (4-5 star) high school recruits? They have one, Chase Hansen, and the rest are jc guys.

    Now I am not a guy that is down on JC players, there are obviously some great players that come from JC's and can enhance programs, but counting on them as your top recruits every year is not a sign of a solid and well recruited program. What it shows is a lack of ability to get the top high school recruits and high schoolers are the lifeblood of top programs. JC players should be "fill ins" used when there is an immediate need and not consitute all of a schools "top" recruits. That does not bode well.

  • TexasGirlAUte Draper, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 5:40 a.m.


    Agreed. I didn't realize Blechen played LB in high school as well. I know there have been other cases where Whitt has moved players around. I think he's very good at that. But yeah, I do agree that offensive depth is key. We saw last season what can happen without it. I'm just glad to see the names that are coming up with recruiting now... Some of those guys are really lookin' sharp!

    Jan. 11, 2012 10:05 p.m.

    Comparing Junior Salt to Kiha Sai as "offsetting." That's funny.

  • murray19 Murray, UT
    Jan. 11, 2012 9:34 p.m.


    Utah asked Kiha Sai to Grey Shirt and that he could look around for other offers. Meaning they had something else in mind, and knew that they may lose him. So not a real big surprise they lost him. When you have 25 spots to fill you need to be selective and try to get the very best players you can.

    Jan. 11, 2012 4:57 p.m.

    TexasGirl, that's true, but Blechen was also a high school linebacker. He wasn't just "discovered" as a defensive talent, it was already known that he was pretty good. If we can find the best possible players, but develop them the same as we have our 2 and 3 star guys, we can have an excellent team. One thing that has proved important in our new conference is offensive depth, especially OL and QB. The more talent we have there, the higher ceiling we have.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Jan. 11, 2012 4:52 p.m.


    No mention of the offensive lineman that decommitted from the u and committed to Hawaii either. Both are 3 star recruits according to Scout. Looks like an offset.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 11, 2012 1:06 p.m.

    No mention here of Junior Salt the four star JC transfer Defensive Tackle who just committed to Utah. Great pick up by Utah.

  • TexasGirlAUte Draper, UT
    Jan. 11, 2012 6:56 a.m.

    I disagree with some of yall...

    Coach Whitt puts the players where they are best suited. I think he should continue that trend. I mean... Look at Blechen for example, he was a high school quarterback but look what he's done for Utah at safety!!

    Yes we need depth at QB, and I think after what happened in 2011 the coaches will address that issue... but its ok (and sometimes a very good idea)to switch some players around to different posititons. Whitt has proved he has really good judgement when making that call. Let the Coaches do their jobs. :)

    GO UTES!!

  • DevilishUte Tempe, AZ
    Jan. 10, 2012 4:35 p.m.

    Is this the same story as the other story with the same title? Didn't read the actual article in this case because I read the other article with the same name.

    Interesting that the DNews has failed to produce an article about Eric Rowe's All-American nomination, probably one of the more newsworthy events of the day for Utah football.

  • SoonerUte Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    Utes at #29 in Rivals recruiting list.

  • motorbike Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 10, 2012 11:10 a.m.

    CougFaninTX -

    We actually agree - worth pointing out, right?
    If there is one thing Whittingham coached teams have been terrible at, it's developing QB talent.
    They can develop the heck out of cornerbacks, safeties, d-lineman, O-lineman, running backs and even receivers to an extent ... but when it comes to quarterbacks, linebackers (exception of Stevenson Sylvester) and tight ends ... well ... not so good.
    The exception would be this last season where Norm Chow involved tight ends more than Utah has in years, if ever. He also took a lousy Jon Hays and made him respectable ... quite a feat really.
    I suspect that Whittingham will have learned his lesson at least to some degree. He has to look at this last season as a huge missed opportunity. If Utah had properly recruited and developed a quality backup QB, they may have won the South title outright ... I'm including USC in that due to USC's tougher conference schedule.
    By the way, Wilson and Hansen are both set to join the U for the second enrollment period of this semester. This allows them to finish their winter sports (volleyball and basketball). Meaning they'll both be at the U for Spring ball.

  • WoahTurbo Murray, UT
    Jan. 10, 2012 10:11 a.m.

    Both Wilson and Hansen are expected to be at the U for spring ball. The big need for the U right now is recruiting the offensive line! If Wynn comes back, he needs to be as protected as possible. Replacing both tackles on the line will be a challenge.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Jan. 10, 2012 9:45 a.m.

    Hopefully U will learn from past mistakes and keep Wilson and Hansen at QB. It's okay to have 2 or 3 solid QBs on the roster.

    If Hansen is moved to another position (possibly LB), I wouldn't be surprised to see him look elsewhere.

    Will Wynn make another attempt at recovery in 2012 or will he hang up his cleats? Long term prospects don't seem favorable for him.

    Does anybody know if Wilson or Hansen are graduating early to enter Utah in January? If so, they may have a chance to earn the starting nod.