The 2015 class is in the books for the Utah football program, and they came away with some potential game changers. As Coach Kyle Whittingham says, recruiting is the life blood of any program. Well, since the Utes have joined the Pac-12, they've been playing catch up. This past class, the 2014 class, had some big names in it for the Utes. Let's dig a bit deeper into that class, although it is only a year old, and see what kind of immediate impact some of those players had.
The highly touted tackle out of Brighton High School showed some flashes in spring and fall ball, but ultimately was redshirted during the 2014 season. While he did struggle at times, particularly during the spring game last year, he was just outside of the two-deep. Barton is expected to compete for a role in the 2015 season and going forward.
Impact player number one for the Utes, coming out of junior college, was Devontae Booker. We don't need to dig into his accolades too much, but the first team All-Pac-12 running back will return for the 2015 season, and could be a dark horse Heisman candidate. Booker should have actually been on campus a year sooner, but some academic issues kept him from joining until the 2014 class.
Tevin Carter also should have been on campus in 2013, but some academic issues kept him from joining the team. His debut, and what was supposed to be his one and only season, was limited to only four games. During those four games, he was an impact player, even if he struggled with conditioning at times. In his four games, he had 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, with two interceptions (one for a TD versus UCLA). His other interception came against Michigan, which was essentially the back breaker before the rain delay. Carter should be back
Another member of the JC transfer three-headed monster, Kaelin Clay was a giant play maker for the Utes in 2014. Clay kicked off his one and only season as a
Clay also stepped in as the deep threat for
The big defensive tackle from Stansbury Park, Utah, didn't see the field in 2014. Being a part of the Utah defensive line, it is tough to break that ultra-deep position. Development for defensive linemen in Utah's system is very common, see Nate Orchard as the prime example, and development for Havili-Katoa will be great for him going forward.
Andre Godfrey came on campus as a highly touted safety from Florida. He was injured most of his freshman season, but when he saw the field, he made some plays. He was particularly effective against UCLA, like most of Utah's defense. On the season, he played in seven games, had eight tackles, and half a sack. A healthy Godfrey, with more experience, is an exciting prospect.
It's easy to forget some of the players that have been signed, and the excitement around some of those players.
Primarily a special
While losing Tevin Carter for most of the 2014 season was a downer, it did benefit the Utes in the long term, because of the ability for Marcus Williams to get a ton of playing time. Williams played in all 13 games, and recorded 59 tackles, one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles and one interception. The experience Williams picked up in 2014, as a true freshman, will be huge (not unlike Brian Blechen or Eric Rowe) going forward.
Many people that I've spoken to believe Donovan Isom may be the future quarterback for Utah. Isom is a big dude at 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds. Isom has a very strong arm, and is also mobile - basically a true dual threat QB. Isom
Hughes didn't see the field in 2014, but is another kid the Utes got out of Vegas, and is slated to line up at
Star's younger brother really caught on during the second half of the season. On the year he had 33 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. As a true freshman, that actually signed during the 2013 class, Lotulelei showed serious
Never made it to campus. The highly touted running back from Florida had academic issues.
Not really a member of the signing class of 2014, but Kendal Thompson did have an impact on the Utes. The Oklahoma transfer showed flashes of being a dynamic play maker behind center, especially in the UCLA game and at the beginning of the Oregon game before he went down with a knee injury. Thompson, if healthy, should factor
Similar to Thompson, Patrick really wasn't a member of the 2014 class, but he was a maybe addition in 2014. The 6-foot-5 wide out was really starting to come to the forefront until his season ending leg injury against Oregon. He only had 177 yards on the season, but he was getting more and more comfortable with the offense, and was starting to make plays once
Wasn't on 2014 roster
Thor Katoa (enrolled at Oregon State)
The 2014 class was a successful one for the Utes, at least for the 2014 season. Utah added some serious play makers (Clay, Booker, Carter and Lotulelei), and also added some key pieces to a youthful base of players coming up (Isom, Young, Williams,