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Kalani Sitake leaves Utah for Oregon State

It appears as a member of the Utah football family is leaving to move north.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

I told you it was going to happen just a couple of weeks ago; it was not a matter of if for Kalani Sitake to leave, but a matter of when. However, I did speculate that he'd leave for a head coaching job at a place like a UNLV or CSU, I didn't think he'd make a lateral (at best) move in conference! That's until Gary Andersen accepted the Oregon State job.

Reports surfaced today by various sources that Kalani Sitake will be leaving Utah, and moving to the Pac-12 North to Oregon State, to coach with Gary Andersen. Not only that, but Ilaisa Tuiaki, the defensive end coach for the Utes, appears to be headed up there too. Both coaches were bound to leave at some point, because I believe Tuiaki would be Sitake's DC, if Sitake was to be hired as a head coach somewhere. This is particularly frustrating for Utah fans, and no doubt Kyle Whittingham, because they are staying in the conference.

With that said, schematically, losing Sitake isn't the biggest loss to the program. This is Kyle Whittingham's defense, and as long as Coach Whitt is here, the defense will do its thing. With that said, who is next in line? Morgan Scalley is the popular name, and one I support. Scalley has been one of Utah's best recruiters as well as the safeties coach for the past five or six seasons, so he has plenty of seasoning as a position coach. There are also some outside names that have popped up, such as Lewis Powell, a current coach at Hawaii, and a former player at Utah. Hans Olsen of 1280 The Zone threw Powell's name out there as a possible replacement to Tuiaki as the d-line coach. Powell sounds like a logical replacement, especially since he could easily keep the Polynesian pipeline open.

The biggest loss felt by Utah will be in recruiting. Sitake is an ace recruiter, and the key for the Utah staff now is to make sure the current commits stay committed. With signing day about six weeks away, that is priority number one for the Utes. These next six weeks are crucial, and if Utah can weather the storm of any potential fallout of Sitake leaving, they'll be fine. After that, the Utes have enough great recruiters to fill in for Sitake until they get the openings filled.

Gary Andersen attempted to take Sitake with him to Utah State when Andersen left after the 2008 season. Andersen and Sitake go back to their days coaching at Southern Utah together, so they have a very tight bond, and once Andersen moved to Oregon State, I knew that was trouble for keeping Sitake.

Now for Utah, and the Pac-12, the Beavers have instant credibility on defense with Gary Andersen, Kalani Sitake and Ilaisa Tuika all on the same staff.