Recipe for success: How Stanford built its program, and Utah can do the same

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  • Protecting This House Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    byu "fans" interjecting in this PAC-12 conversation. "Absolutely LOL hilarious!"

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    Absolutely LOL hilarious that utah "fans" would accept this homers comparisons of utah with stanford while simultaneously mocking any comparisons to BYU and notre dame. utah cannot be compared to stanford in any way, stanford is so far superior to utah in academics, athletics, and reputation that even the vaguest of comparisons between the 2 should mocked mercilessly. BYU on the otherhand has far more in common with notre dame, and is far more comparable to notre dame athletically, academically, and in reputation, than utah is to stanford that there is no comparison once again.

    utah comparing itself to stanford.....LOL!

  • Uteology East Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 12, 2013 11:22 a.m.

    If you win, then they will come.

    After 3 years, Utah's recruiting has improved and I for one can see the results on the field. Yes, we're not winning but we have been able to compete. It will take time to compete for the PAC-12 title, Utah is on the right track.

    Go UTES!

    Utah 30 Stanford 28

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    Chris B

    Some food for thought:

    Last 4 years Texas has had average 3.8 star recruiting classes (better than Alabama)
    Utah 3.0
    BYU 2.6

    If stars really mattered as much as you claim they do, why was BYU able to DOMINATE Texas?

    If you argue that Texas doesn't have the best coaches, how do you explain the Mack Brown-coached Texas team beating the Pete Carrol-coached USC team to win the 2005 National Championship?

    The point is, there are far more intangibles like team leadership, team chemistry, grit, determination, etc., etc., that goes into making a highly successful team than simply assembling a large group of "star" high school players.

    btw, BYU and Utah will NEVER have a single average 3.8-star recruiting class; EVER!

  • Solomon Levi Alpine, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 5:50 p.m.


    If stars are only marginally meaningful, then how many "bcs" schools recruited a particular player is practically meaningless.

    Still, some delusional fans will continue to beat their chests about Utah's completely unprovable recruiting "dominance".

    If Texas's advantage over BYU is insignificant, then Utah's supposed "advantage" is practically invisible, except in the eyes of the crimson glasses wearers.

  • TroyTown Anaheim, CA
    Oct. 11, 2013 4:40 p.m.

    According to Rivals, in the last four recruiting classes (2010 through 2013)

    Texas - 5 5-star, 58 4-star, 24 3-star, 1 2-star
    BYU - 0 5-star, 6 4-star, 35 3-star, 40 2-star

    Potentially, BYU faced a 2013 Texas team that out-numbered BYU,

    5 to 0 in 5-star recruits
    58 to 6 in 4-star recruits

    Yet, BYU absolutely destroyed the Longhorns 40-21, rolling up 550 rushing yards on Texas, more rushing yards than Texas had ever given up in over 1,200 games.

    According to the stars theory, BYU shouldn't have stood a chance against Texas this year, or in 2011, when BYU only lost at Texas 16-17.

    Obviously, the stars theory is greatly exaggerated.

  • TrueBlue Orem, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    Truth Machine

    "BYU absolutely curb-stomped a team, this year, that almost always has a Top 10, usually Top 5, recruiting class."

    Kinda makes all of the hoopla about recruiting rankings being the main determinant of college football success meaningless, doesn't it.

  • slcftball Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    Good article!

    For the record, Andrew Luck didn't play as a true freshman. He redshirted.

  • Utah Alum Orem, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 3:23 p.m.

    How many 4- and 5-star recruits have already committed to USC, UCLA, Oregon, Utah and BYU for the 2014 recruiting class?

  • Truth Machine Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    If recruiting "stars" are the end-all-be-all of college football success, then the Utes should just pack it in now and accept reality that the Utes will NEVER win a PAC 12 championship because the Utes will NEVER out recruit USC, UCLA and Oregon, EVER!

    In fact, the Utes will only rarely finish in the upper half of the PAC 12 in recruiting.

    USC, UCLA and Oregon get more 4- and 5-star recruits in a single recruiting class, than the Utes get in a half dozen recruiting classes.

    When was the last time the Utes signed a 5-star recruit?

    btw, BYU absolutely curb-stomped a team, this year, that almost always has a Top 10, usually Top 5, recruiting class.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 1:02 p.m.

    I mean no offense to anyone. I worked for a D-1 athletic department for years and our 249th ranked recruiting class was often upsetting teams at least 100 spots above us.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:58 p.m.

    I said in my statements "OTHER" BCS schools when referring to recruits. I don't know why people are being so negative I think my comments are showing that both schools can compete with any other team. I just want to make a point that recruiting though it does matter is not the whole game. BYU, UTAH, and Utah State have had great teams that were not very good recruiting classes. I think Utah can beat Stanford this week, they are almost as talented, and they have a great crowd and are very physical. I agree that it takes recruits to win the National Title, but all I am talking about are Utah teams being able to beat high quality opponents. I think both are very very far off from being National Title contenders.

  • Reno Cougs Fan 68 Reno, NV
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Chris B,
    Nice spin but on an article about Stanford and Utah you brought BYU into it with your comments!!! That is why we BYU fans call you out as a BYU hater!!! Looks like you team is going to start out the season 0-4 in conference for the third straight year!!! Ouch!!! But at least you will have that bright shiny State of Utah Championship trophy and recruiting trophy to display in your new football building right? Take care!!!

    Go Cougs!!!
    Go Stanford!!!

  • Samurai Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    @B C:

    Despite losing four straight rivalry games, the whole of royal smurf blue nation are the ones in denial.

    YbU will have to get lucky just to escape with a Holy War victory once every four or five years.

    Go Utes!

  • Cletus from Coalville Coalville, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:43 p.m.

    All star recruits want to go to us everytime because you see we are the bcs conference of champions and that means we are more awsome than anyone else!

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:37 p.m.


    Well said!

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:28 p.m.

    I know this is kind of sad to say but I can't believe it has gone this long and not been said.

    100% of the U's recruits had offers from a BCS school. 100%.

    BYU gets roughly 57% of commits that were recruited by BCS schools. UofU gets 100%.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:09 p.m.


    I'm not attacking anyone's school at all. I'm simply stating facts that recruiting services usually get it right, and that even with a few misses here and there, the overall AVERAGE stars of a team is very telling of the level of talent there. And better athletes usually lead to better teams and more win.

    Again, its not a surprise that you don't see national champions with 1-2 star nobodies making up most of their roster.

    You think Nick Saban would be winning national titles with byU's "talent"


    I'll take as talented as a team as we can get, and right now that is average in the Pac 12 and definintely better than byU.

    And yes, having better players has a lot to do with Utah beating byU the last 4 years.

    Not a coincidence we've had higher stars those same 4 years.

    It's the truth. Deal with it.

  • Samurai Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:56 a.m.


    "Playing the game does matter or else they would not play it."

    You are correct. Now, please reiterate this basic concept to all of the YbU "fans" who keep denying that they're 0-4 and counting...!

    5-0 at RES in 2016!

    Go Utes!

  • Trevvor Sandy, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    BeSmart, But isn't our contention that simply being in a BCS conference doesn't mean anything(just look at Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Washignton State, Duke)? You're as biased as Chris if you are trying to suggest that BYU commits had a "good" offer in BCS Utah but don't say that Utah commits had "good" offers in BYU. You only look as biased as him, and that doesn't help the conversation.

    And as far as any team beating any team, I agree. And so does Chris. So what's your point? Even though that is true, wouldn't you rather have a Bronco coached team with great talent over a Bronco coached team with average talent? You'd be crazy to think talent doesn't help win games. Again, what's your point? It seems you're trying to prove Chris wrong, but for once is he right! Tell me something he has said that is wrong. I don't see anything. He is wrong a lot, and lets point it out when he is. But here he isn't.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:46 a.m.

    The only reason why I posted was because I have been seeing Chris B rant for two days on recruiting. I read Utah articles because I want Utah to do well. So I apologize I want all Utah schools to do well. I just think attacking another school (or faith in other articles) should not be tolerated.
    Go all Utah schools including my athletic program that pulls off an upset every few years.

  • B C Park City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:42 a.m.

    "How Stanford built its program, and Utah can do the same"

    Concerning Utah, a resounding - NO!

    Despite their denials, the Utes are destined to be the next Arizona - 30 years in the conference and still looking for their first Rose Bowl.

    Eventually, the Utes will get their "signature" win/upset. The odds are simply in their favor, like a 10-2 UNLV shutting out the Utes. One of the "big boys" will have an off day and the Utes will be the lucky beneficiaries.

    As far as being a perennial contender, not a chance. Utah will have to get lucky just to finish with a winning conference record once every four or five years.

  • Jefe-Ute SLC, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    Hopefully the Utes can keep their heads held high after Saturday and finish out the season strong (of course besides the Oregon game). I can see Utah beating Arizona, USC, Colorado, and WSU to finish with a 7-5 record. ASU is a maybe, only because of their loss to a ND team that I don't think is that great and a blowout loss to Stanford. The last two years ASU has had our number so I'm not expecting much. I'm really excited for this Utah team and hope that Murphy heals quickly and well. I wish we would have used him more often this year.

  • MyPerspective Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    What does byu have to do with any of this?

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:36 a.m.

    P.S. I don't include BYU offers in the Utah stats because BYU is not in a BCS conference.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:35 a.m.

    I am not saying that Utah's talent is worse than BYU's. Utah will always have more. Recruiting is not all of college sports. That is why you play the game.
    I want Utah to do well, but trying to say any team can beat another any day. That is why the game is played.

  • VegasUte Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    Once again, a UTAH story turns into Chris B vs the UC trollers. Tiresome!!

    Nice article Dan.

    Great hire DN - keep up the good work!!

    Go Utes!

    Onward and Upword!!

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    ok last 4 years recruiting class ranking Pac-12
    So by your own philosophy Utah will always be a doormat?
    BYU would be too I am just saying Coaching had nothing to so with winning?
    Have you played sports?
    Were the classes leading up to 2008 Utah top 5 classes?
    Why if Stanford can have some of the worse Pac-12 classes be a top 5 team?
    USU beat Utah with a lesser quality class (must be the world's largest miracle)

    Oregon State has beat you with lower ranked classes (its the end of the world)
    Northwestern who averages a very low class is top 25 and almost beat Ohio State (oh my coaching may matter).
    Your philosophy although it has great points and the majority of the time is right. Playing the game does matter or else they would not play it.

  • Samurai Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Utah has already been building a stronger program.

    2014 will be their breakout year in the Conference of Champions.

    That being said, they can still win the majority of their remaining games. The future is looking very bright for the U!

    Go Utes!

  • Trevvor Sandy, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    BeSMart, I'm a BYU fan but I'm siding with Chris and Ken on this one. If we believe BYU is as good as Utah, you can't not include the BYU offers in the Utah commits but include Utah offers in the BYU commits. If our whole argument is that simply being in a BCS conference doesn't mean anything, lets stay consistent with that. You show your bias is as bad as Chris's when you don't count byu's offers to Utah commits but do count Utah's offers to BYU commits. Don't be like Chris.

    Besides, it seems Chris's whole argument is that of average stars for a team, which I certainly would agree is a better indicator of talent than number of kids with BCS offers. And he's right, Utah's 2014 class is still above BYU's.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    @ Chris B
    are you going to ignore discussing the fact 9 of BYU 14 commits have BCS offers, While only 4 of Utahs 11 have gotten the same?

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:03 a.m.

    That is because No star recruits don't weigh on the average. Since 2011 Utah has lost to USU ASU OSU Arizon and UCLA which all have had worse classes than the U. UCLA had the 45th ranked class two years ago. They number 11? Fresno St. #84 Northwestern # 87 NIU # 78 Stanford # 22 all these teams have way out performed their ranking.
    Underperformed Texas #3 USC #4 Auburn #7 Tennesee #13 Cal #17.
    Dude rankings do matter but not that much. Utahs best team in 2008 was not a good "star class" Northwestern was on the doorstep with Ohio State 70 spots difference. Fresno State is this years Utah # 84. It is coaching and attitude. I have been involved in college athletics for over 10 years. Our best teams have never been the highest rated recruits. You can recruit speed and talent but it only goes so far with coaching. That is why I say Utah and BYU can compete with anyone anytime. That is why you play the game. P.S. Utah beat Utah this year because of great coaching on both sides of the ball. BYU coaching struggled against the utes.

  • Ken Sandy, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:51 a.m.


    Your "stats" don't hold up to inspection.

    Jackson Barton - many BCS offers
    Kyle Christiansen - byu offer
    Kenyon Frison - many BCS offers
    Allan Havili - many BCS offers
    Donovan Isom - BCS offer(Miami)
    Raelon Singleton - BCS offer

    6 of 11 had BCS/byu offers

    Austin Chambers - 1 BCS offer Kansas
    Tyler Cook - BCS offers
    Cedrick DAle - 1 BCS offer Texas Tech
    Kavika Fonua - Utah offer
    Teancum Fuga - BCS offers
    Kurtz - good pickup(if he stays committed)
    Michael Shelton - 1 BCS offer
    Sione Takitake - BCS offers
    Fred Warner - BCS offers

    Byu 8/14 commits with BCS offers 57%

    It appears you're numbers are manipulated for both byu and Utah. And guess who has the higher AVERAGE STAR recruiting class for 2014(since its not finalized yet)? The University of Utah. You guys like exposure don't you? Well, you just got exposed.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    From rivals recruiting:

    2010 Utah 3.09 > 2.78 byU
    2011 2.95 Utah > 2.58 byU
    2012 3.04 > 2.87 byU
    2013 Utah 2.96 > 2.31(OUCH) byU

    So in order from highest to lowest the last 8 recruiting classes for Utah and byu

    1. Utah
    2. Utah
    3. Utah
    4. Utah
    5. byu
    6. byu
    7. byu
    8. byu

    That's right, byu's best year in the last 4 is still worse than Utah's worst recruiting class

    Yes, I do love my Pac 12 membership. No 2.31 recruiting classes for us

    Think that has anything to do with Utah going 4-0 against byU in that time?


  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:28 a.m.


    byu has more total kids committed for 2014. Some schools get kids to commit a lot sooner than others. You're not comparing apples to apples. But if you look at their average ranking, AGAIN Utah is higher.

    Good try on the spin though.

    2014 Utah 2.88
    2015 byu 2.5

    And since you're apparently confused about which is higher, 2.88 > 2.5


  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    9 out of BYU 14 commits have offers from BCS schools. 4 out of Utahs 11 have offers from other BCS schools. BYU class is also ranked higher. And Cody Hoffman was a 2 star commit now a NFL bound receiver.

  • BeSmart Cheyenne, WY
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:10 a.m.

    Commits this year. BYU 1- 4 star 5- 3 stars 8- 2 stars Utah 1-4 star 5- 3star 3- no stars.
    BYU rated from ten to 15 spots higher. Recruits so help, but Alabama is not always number 1, so they should only win 4 years after they are number 1? Utah beat Alabama and was in the top 5 with a 2.5 star recruiting?
    I admit Utah will continue to get better recruits most years and has been since the days of Mcbride, but they are ranked within 10 of each other.
    You need to realize BYU only recruits people that will obey their honor code, that probably eliminates 85% percent of recruits right off, so even when they were a powerhouse team they didn't get great recruits. I respect BYU for sticking to what they believe. 2.6 to 3.0 on the 5.0 scale is only 8 percent not a huge difference between the two.

  • Truthfully Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Last 4 years of Utah recruiting according to, the most respected and widely used recruiting service.
    U Y
    2010- 2.64 stars 3.04
    2011-2.9 stars 2.53
    2012-2.69 stars 2.67
    2013-2.54 stars 2.23
    2014 is shaping up to be about the average of the last 4 years.
    Utah has been consistently about 1/10 of a star better than the Y over the past 4 years.

    BYU also ranks much higher in rival fans who demonstrate their insecurity and obsession by mentioning BYU in comments even when BYU is not mentioned in the article.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    Some reasons that the Stanford model will not work at Utah.
    1. Academic standards are already much lower at the U and they still struggle to have less than 1/3 of their recruits be ranked with 2 stars. They rarely get a 4 star player to come to the U.
    2.The U has to take the best athletes they can get and try to fit the teams style of play to their players. If they recruited to a certain type of playing style, their average star ranking would be around 2.2.
    3.The U has no recent winning tradition to help lure better players.
    4.In 2014 the U has offered 52 football scholarships. Stanford offered 33, BYU offered 21. When a school has to offer that many scholarships to fill their roster, it looks bad to the recruits. A recruit has to wonder if the team want's them or if they are just shotgunning to get a body for an open position on the roster.
    5.The only thing the U has going for them is the PAC, and most teams in the PAC have more of everything to offer.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    Some food for thought:

    Last 4 years Alabama has had an average 3.7 star recruiting classes
    Utah 3.0
    byU 2.6

    Yes, stars matter. Any individual kid can obviously be a hit or miss, but OVERALL the recruiting services get it right. And YES, its' better to have better players.

    And before you byU fans go crazy, did I say higher stars guarantees wins? Did I say a lower star team never wins?

    I'm simply saying the best teams usually have the best coaches AND the best athletes.

    I haven't seen a national championship team full of 2 star nobodies lately.

    And that's not a coincidence.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Whittingham has said since day 1 we'd have to improve our recruiting to be a player in the Pac 12, and that HAS happened.

    Our MWC days we'd be beaten by just about every Pac 12 team in recruiting.

    Look at the last 4 years:

    2010 - 7th in Pac 12
    2011 - 6th in Pac 12
    2012 - 7th in Pac 12
    2013 - 9th in Pac 12

    And these are vastly better than what we were getting before our Pac 12 invite. Furthermore, our worst year in recruiting in the last four years is BETTER than byU's BEST year in recruiting in the last 4 years.

    Now some of these kids that we've recruited are on missions, and others have redshirted and still have several years left in the program.

    Point is, recruiting is HUGE, even though our friends in Provo try to convince themselves they are building a national title team with 1-2 star nobodies.

    Also, last 4 years Utah has won the HEAD to HEAD recruiting with byU every year as well.

    Even kids that used to be automatics for byU are picking Pac 12 Utah more often than not these days.