Being ranked in the top five has its perks, one of which is a boost in recruiting, which is exactly what No. 5 Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) is experiencing right now. There are several high profile prospects taking official visits to Utah in the coming weeks. Utah also reeled in two prospects last week (an article on those two commits can be found here). They were not done there; they added another commit as well, Leuzinger HS (Lawndale, Calif.) defensive lineman Semisi Lauaki. Lauaki, like the other two recent commits, is a sign and send prospect. The three-star prospect also held offers from Boise State, Nevada, and San Diego State. Lauaki, 6'4", 240 pounds, is an under-the-radar prospect He does not have a nice highlight video on Hudl, instead he just has individual game films of him playing tight end. He was primarily recruited by Sharrieff Shah. The Utah coaches have shown time and again the ability to find diamonds in the rough and turn them into stud defensive linemen. With Lauaki, Utah is up to 22 players in the 2016 class.
The Arizona State game is shaping up to be a big recruiting weekend. In addition to the prospects mentioned in this article, Utah will also have the No. 4 all-purpose back in the country visiting, Melquise Stovall. Stovall, a four-star recruit and U.S. Army All-American, was committed to USC earlier this year but decommitted before the start of the season. According to this article by Damon Sayles of Bleacher Report, he decommitted from USC because he wants to play as a running back/slot receiver hybrid, and USC wanted him solely as a running back. It sounds like Utah's biggest competition for Stovall is Notre Dame. Getting him out to Utah on an official visit is huge. Landing a highly rated prospect that is coveted by programs like USC, Notre Dame, UCLA, etc would be a major recruiting win for Utah as well. Stovall seems like he would be an immediate impact prospect for Utah. He is quick, shifty, and hard to tackle. He catches the ball well and runs good routes. He is a dynamic player that would give Utah a great weapon on offense who could be moved around to really stress a defense.
Athlete Davir Hamilton, a three-star recruit from Long Beach Poly HS (Long Beach, Calif.) has been a huge recruiter for the Utah program since committing. He is helping Utah try to get Stovall and Daevon Vigilant, a three-star all-purpose back. Long Beach Poly is one of the best talent producing high schools. In each of the last three classes, there has been a five-star prospect (wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2014, cornerback Iman Marshall in 2015, both of whom are attending USC, and quarterback Malik Henry in 2016, a Florida State commit).
Here are a couple Tweets of quotes from an ESPN article, by Erik McKinney on Utah's battle to fix in-state recruiting. Utah is trying to keep the top in-state talent home rather than losing the top prospects to other Pac-12 rivals. Winning can help quite a bit, and it sounds like 2017 could be the year Utah starts to buck the trend of losing the best in-state players. The article references that top 2016 prospect defensive end Maxs Tupai is likely headed out of state, which would be a blow because he is a player that would shine in Utah's defense.
This is a quote from top 2017 in-state prospect, Bingham defensive tackle Jay Tufele,
Most thought 2017 four-star safety Chaz Ah You was dead set on heading out of state, but the success that Utah (and BYU...) has had this season is causing him to reconsidering leaving the state.
Utah can make a lot of waves nationally this week with a win over No. 23 Cal with the ESPN College GameDay crew on campus. They also have many prospects visiting for the next game against Arizona State. These next two weeks could be big for Utah's recruiting moving forward.