The future of every program is now on the shoulders of a bunch of high school kids.
Scary thought, right?
How will Utah do as they prepare to enter the BCS? Certainly this class is not going to rank toward the top of the nation, but compared to their future conference comrades, it's shaping up to be a fairly decent, middle of the Pac-12 recruiting class.
Not too bad for a team that has yet to play an official game as a BCS member.
But what is more important might just be how this class compares to past Utah classes. In that regard, it could very well be the best in school history. Of course, we say that almost every year and we can't always be right.
Yet it feels different with this class. It might not turn out to be the best in school history, but there are certain players who, a few years ago, Utah would never have had a chance to get and that's exciting. It's exciting as a Ute fan to know our program is out there really contending with other BCS programs for four and five star recruits. Which we should expect now that we're in a BCS conference. Even so, a few years back, the recruiting classes that got Utah to a BCS bowl in 2004 and 2008 would have finished toward the bottom of the Pac-10's overall rankings.
So, if you're paying attention, you can come to two different conclusions with those numbers - either the recruiting rankings are bunk or there is some truth to the argument that it is harder to play a conference slate of BCS teams.
Ultimately, it's probably a mix of both. There is no doubt the Pac-10 has more talent from top to bottom than the Mountain West Conference. Washington State, who has managed only two conference wins in three seasons, would certainly fare better in the Mountain West than they have in their current conference.
And that's the task at hand for Utah as they enter the Pac-12. This year's recruiting rankings, as per Rivals.com, would place them sixth in the newly formed Pac-12 at the moment. Or, as I mentioned above, right in the middle.
Not terrible. But certainly not at the level as SC (5th nationally), Oregon (7th nationally), Cal (13th nationally), Washington (20th nationally) and Stanford (23rd nationally). Remarkably, Utah's 40th overall ranking, which should probably improve a few spots once they gain some recruits, is 2nd best of all the non-BCS teams currently. Only TCU, at 25th, has a better class.
So that shows you the discrepancy level between the non-BCS and BCS and it's something Utah will probably have to make up rather quickly if they want to contend consistently for a Pac-12 title.
Luckily, I think they're starting. We've got to remember that this year's class will still fall under the non-BCS status and we should treat it as such. Yet it's still better than five other Pac-12 classes, at least according to Rivals (and you can use Scout to come to the same conclusion, though Utah's ranking in the Pac-12 is only off by one spot).
Beyond that, this class ins't finalized. There are a few more big-named recruits who could push this class higher than it currently is ranked.
Brandon Huffman of Scout.com has an article out that actually does talk a lot about the potential of Utah's class.
Moreno Valley Rancho Verde tight end Junior Pomee is the 10th ranked player at his position, and he's down to Arizona, Utah and USC. All three schools have had players from Rancho Verde on their recent rosters, but the feeling on Pomee is that it's a Utah-USC battle, and he's been going back and forth between each.
Now I am not well-versed on recruiting (I'll leave that to the Utezone & the InsidetheUtes guys) - but I think I know a good player when I see it and Junior Pomee is certainly someone who fits the bill.
Is he going to be a Ute? Going up against SC is never a battle you want to wage because, well, they're Southern California. Even in what is supposed to be their down years, as I've said, they're pulling in the fifth best class nationally.
But these are our new battles. It's going to become rarer and rarer to see Utah going up against Memphis and Nevada for recruits. Not to say those battles won't exist, but with a bigger conference, comes a bigger name and bigger recruits.
Which explains Michael Eubank...
Eubank tripped to Utah last weekend and will be in Pittsburgh for his final trip...
This is a tricky battle because, as far as I can see, Eubank isn't showing his hand. No one knows what he's going to do, if anything at all - since he's still technically committed to Arizona State.
But that again illustrates the new battles.
That leaves Encino Crespi receiver Devin Lucien as the final Scout 300 member to make his choice. Lucien has 20+ offers but recently trimmed his list down to Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA, Utah and Miami. Lucien will visit either Miami or Utah this weekend, but we think it's an Arizona State, Colorado or UCLA battle for the four-star.
Now look at the list of teams Utah is going up against: Three are now conference opponents. The other is Miami.
And yet, even looking at those teams, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Lucien decided to come to Utah.
Though I still, at this point, don't expect it.
After all, Utah is still non-BCS.
For a few months, anyway.