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Utah Football Recruiting Roundup: Top In-State Recruits

In the second of our recruiting series, we look at the top recruits from the state of Utah. Can the Utes keep the local kids home?

Kyle Whittingham and his staff are under pressure to upgrade the talent on the Utes roster, but can they keep the top Utah recruits home?
Kyle Whittingham and his staff are under pressure to upgrade the talent on the Utes roster, but can they keep the top Utah recruits home?
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

In this article, we will look at 10 in-state recruits, focusing on the top players and some important targets for Utah. Masina, Gustin, and James represented Utah at The Opening, one of the elite national football camps, in Beaverton, Ore.

Osa Masina

Masina* is a five-star outside linebacker from Brighton High School. He measures at 6-4, 225 pounds. Masina is one of the best prospects in the country and has offers from all over. While he could play running back or tight end, he projects best at outside linebacker. It was announced last week that Utah missed the cut of Masina’s final five of UCLA, USC, ASU, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It was a huge blow to Utah because he comes from a Utah family (he grew up a fan of Utah), and his brother Uaea plays outside linebacker for Utah. Many hoped (myself included) that Masina would be like Jordan Loveridge and stay home, changing the culture for Utah football, like Loveridge helped do for basketball. Brighton has a lot of talented players, including 2016 four-star wide receiver recruit Simi Fehoko, who looks up to Masina. UCLA is probably the favorite right now to land Masina. He has said he will announce his commitment most likely at the US Army All American game in January.

Porter Gustin

Gustin* is a four-star defensive end (or outside linebacker) from Salem Hills High School. Gustin has great frame and size at 6-5, 240. He is also very strong and runs a 4.69 40. Gustin exploded on the scene when tape of him got out, and that pretty much killed Utah’s chances of getting him. He has stated that he wants to play for national titles. While Utah has not officially been cut from consideration, it seems highly unlikely he will go to Utah when he has offers from schools like defending national champions Florida State, USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA. USC is the favorite right now to land Gustin.

Andre James

James* is a four-star offensive tackle from Herriman High School. James is one of the most athletic tackles in the country, measuring 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds. Utah made it into his final six before being cut at The Opening, where he committed to Pac-12 South rival UCLA. Most people didn't think James would end up at Utah once his recruiting took off, but Coach Harding built a great relationship with him to keep Utah in it until almost the end. I would guess Utah will not be able to flip James.

Christian Folau

Folau* is a four-star middle linebacker from East High School. The Stanford commit is 6-1, 251 pounds. He has been committed to Stanford for almost a year. He is a guy who wanted to leave the state of Utah, so I do not see Utah having any chance of flipping him from an academic giant like Stanford.

Austin Kafentzis

Kafentzis* is a four-star dual threat quarterback recruit from Jordan HS. He is very athletic and measures 6-foot-1, 202 pounds. He's been committed to Wisconsin for over a year. Utah has a lot of depth at quarterback, so the only quarterback recruit they have been focusing on is Sam Darnold*. Kafentzis would be a good athlete to pick up, but I doubt Utah will flip him.

Dayan Lake

Lake is a four-star cornerback from Northridge High School. He stands 5-10 and weighs 185 pounds. He's a soft verbal commit to BYU (his only offer currently). He has good speed (4.39 40, which is rare for a BYU defensive back). His film* shows he's a dangerous returner. He also is not afraid to hit people. I am not sure how hard Utah is recruiting him, since they haven't offered him or if they could flip him if they did offer.

Brandon Bowen

Bowen* is a three-star offensive tackle from Corner Canyon High School. Bowen is a mammoth at 6-7, 315. He is still raw, but he could be a great player with his natural size and ability. Bowen would be a good get for Utah. He plays nasty and mauls opponents. It seems like it is a two-horse race to land Bowen between Washington State and Utah. I think he will end up at Utah since it is the hometown school, and he is best friends with Utah commit Cody Barton.

Mufi Hunt

Hunt* is a three-star defensive end from Brighton High School. He is very tall at 6-6 and weighs in at 215 pounds. Hunt is LDS and plans to serve a mission, so he would not make an impact for a while if Utah got him. He is very good at rushing the passer and could be a good defensive end for Utah. Hunt has offers from Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Cal, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, Vanderbilt, Washington, and Washington State. Utah definitely has a chance to land him, but I have not heard much about how he is leaning.

James Empey

Empey* is a three-star offensive guard from American Fork High School. He has decent size for a guard, standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 265 pounds (though many schools are going after taller offensive linemen lately). Where Empey shines is his fabulous technique. At the All-Poly Camp, he showed that he could handle both speed and power rushers well. He would be a great addition to the Utah offensive line eventually if he committed. Empey is LDS and plans to serve a mission, so he is a sign and send (after the Harvey Langi debacle, emphasis should be placed on the sign). He has not said much about his recruitment to my knowledge, but I think Utah has a good shot with him (I predict he will come to Utah), but BYU and Washington may be tough. He also has offers from Boise State, Nevada, Oregon State, Utah State, and Washington State.

Quinn Fabrizio

Fabrizio* is a three-star safety from Alta High School. Fabrizio has good size at 6-3, 210 pounds. He may have plans to serve a mission before enrolling in college. He has a tentative top five right now with Utah, BYU, Utah State, Wisconsin, and Washington. His highlights show him as a good tackler who's not afraid to take on blockers or hit a running back. I think Utah has a decent shot at landing him, but they are going to have to beat Wisconsin and BYU to do it.

* Film and stats courtesy of Hudl.