Utah's 2014 recruiting class has been longer on disappointment than great news. But Bud Elliott of SB Nation Recruiting thinks if Utah can exceed expectations and make a bowl game, that could turn around. He thinks there are still players on the board who could make this a better class than it currently stands.
However, three-star wide receiver Brandon Snell recently decommitted from Utah, reopening his recruiting. While the 6-1, 192-pound pass catcher is a JC recruit out of Garden City Community College in Kan., he's originally from South Florida. Elliott thinks geography may play a bigger role in Snell's recruitment, as the wide receiver may want to stay closer to his home on the East Coast.
"The win-loss record certainly plays into it," Elliott agreed. "Utah hasn't made a bowl game in two season. Their over-under in Vegas right now is, essentially, 4.5 to 5 [games]. That's not likely to get a whole bunch of recruits excited, particularly when you're going against so many other good programs and coaching staffs in the Pac-12."
Elliott also agreed now was a bad time for Utah to face what has been deemed by ESPN as the no. 1 strength of schedule in the country.
"Yeah, it's really not the kind of schedule you want to have if you're looking for a bounce-back year," Elliott said.
It's also possible that losses of players like Osa Masina may have something to do with the status of 10th year head coach Kyle Whittingham. Some programs may be talking to recruits about both the trajectory of the program, as well as the possibility Whittingham may not be around for even their sophomore season. Naturally, a winning, bowl season in 2014 will definitely help Utah's cachet on the recruiting trail, but no one will know how that will look for another two months at the very least.
"I think Utah can pull in some better kids in this class. This class is certainly not stuck at this certain level," Elliott said, even while noting Utah has to do better recruiting its home state. "No Osa Masina. No Porter Gustin. No Andre James. No Christian [Folau]. It's tough."
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