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Utah Addressed Areas of Greatest Need

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

During his press conference today, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham covered a number of topics, from coaching staff changes to recruiting.


Whittingham confirmed that co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick will be up in the booth overlooking the field and will be in charge of calling the plays and the passing game. Co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Jim Harding will be down on the field.

The tight ends coaching position remains open, but Whittingham said he expects to fill the position within one to two weeks. That is the last piece of the staff puzzle, although no candidates were mentioned nor was any indication that he'd conducted any interviews as yet.

The head man did say that with John Pease and Justin Ena in place, the team is all set on the defensive side of the ball.


The Utah football program added 20 players from eight states today with its 2015 signing class. Most of the scholarships were awarded to high school prospects (15), while the defensive secondary gained the most players (6).

Whittingham felt the staff addressed areas of immediate need, those positions that were most depleted (or would be). Offensive line was identified as the area of greatest need, and new co-OC Harding brought in six 3-star recruits to battle in the trenches, including Johnny Capra (6-6, 288), Nick Carman (6-3, 274), Keven Dixon (6-4, 272), and Darrin Paulo (6-5, 315).

Wide receiver and defensive back were the other two areas Whittingham noted as being of greatest need. The Utes signed four wide receivers, Deniko Carter (6-2, 173), Alfred Smith (5-9, 175), Tyrone Smith (6-4, 197), and George Wilson (6-3, 185). Utah also signed six defensive backs, Philip Afia (6-0, 175), Cory Butler (5-9, 175), Ahmad Christian (5-10, 190), Tyson Cisrow (6-0, 180), Kyle Fulks (5-8, 168), and Austin Lee (6-0, 187).

"We feel we put together another solid recruiting class across the board," Whittingham said. "Offensive linemen, wide receivers, and defensive backs were our primary position needs, but we were also able to sign quality players at other positions."

California was the most fertile recruiting ground for the Utes with 10 signees. Next was Florida with three. The Utes announced two in-state signees and one commit each from Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Arizona and Maryland. Since a National Letter of Intent may only be signed for the upcoming year, those prospects who plan to serve church missions before enrolling in school did not sign letters today.

Five players are already enrolled in classes and will participate in spring camp, which starts on Mar. 24: senior cornerback Ahmad Christian, freshman linebacker Jake Jackson, freshman safety Austin Lee, freshman defensive tackle Vaha Vainuku and freshman wide receiver Tyrone Smith.

Kyle Whittingham press conference - NSD 2015