The future of Utah football is built within recruiting classes. Each class acts as a brick and Coach Kyle Whittingham knows that they are the lifeline of a football program. You fail to recruit talent and there is a good chance you fail on the football field. Each recruiting class is either the cornerstone of a coaches successful stint with a program, or his death nail. Which makes tomorrow one of the most important days in a team's season, because it ultimately paves the way for tomorrow.
This will be Whittingham's third recruiting class and it would appear his first two are some of the best in Utah history. Yet those classes were built by Utah's success under Urban Meyer, when they went 22-2 in two years and won the Fiesta Bowl in January of 2005. This will be the first class where the Fiesta Bowl is not directly connected and will really be an extension of Whittingham's 15-10 record over two years. While that record has been a dramatic drop-off from Urban Meyer's two years with Utah, it doesn't look as if recruiting is taking much of a hit.
Of course the success of a class is never really felt until a few years down the line and can only be evaluated as such. Realistically, we won't know how good of a recruiter Kyle Whittingham is until about the start of next season, maybe even by the end of that season. But on paper, he seems to be putting together a fairly solid class, though not nearly as strong has his past two ones.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Ute Zone, Utah's recruiting class for this year is easily accessible. And scanning the list of commits, it looks like the biggest unknown currently is Nai Fotu out of Hawaii. Though he lists Utah as a soft verbal, he tripped to Arizona and might make the switch before tomorrow rolls around. Here again is another recruit being influenced by the BCS. Right now Arizona is a struggling football program that hasn't had a winning season in nine years. That lack of success has put fourth year head coach Mike Stoops on the hot seat and anything less than a bowl invite this year could mean his job. Yet to Fotu, and other recruits, the possibility of playing in the BCS trumps this and guides their decision making.
This is what makes recruiting to Utah and other non-BCS schools a challenge. There is always the possibility of losing a recruit to a very mediocre, or terrible BCS team. But that's the game and Utah's forced to play it. Yet even with all their two star recruits, the Utes have proven they're capable of beating BCS teams and I don't expect that to change under Whittingham.