Today was a great day to be a Ute, twice, with Hallandale High School (Hollywood, Fla.) teammates wide receiver Demari Simpkins and quarterback Tyler Huntley both committed Utah today. They came together on an unofficial visit and seemed to love their visits per their Twitter accounts. Simpkins was the first to commit to Utah. Huntley, a former Florida Atlantic commit, decommitted from FAU before committing to Utah. Each are rated as three-star recruits by the 24/7 Sports Composite ranking.
I love these pick ups for multiple reasons. First, it continues to build the Florida pipeline. The more players Utah can pull in from the Sunshine State the better. The fact that they are high school teammates means they will be familiar with each other once they are at Utah. It takes time for a quarterback and a receiver to establish a connection, but this has already happened for Huntley and Simpkins. Lastly and most importantly, they are both very good players at positions of need for Utah.
Simpkins, the 6' 0", 180 pound wide receiver with 4.49 speed, is an early enrollee, so he will be able to join Utah prior to spring practices. This extra experience will be invaluable to help him develop and possibly allow him to contribute as a true freshman in 2016. While he will play wide receiver at Utah, he did play some quarterback last season in high school, so much of his film is of him playing quarterback. In his film*, Simpkin's speed and agility in the open field are clear. He catches the ball with his hands. I like that he has a quarterback background because it gives him an understanding of how a quarterback thinks. Simpkins was recruited by Dennis Erickson. He was also high school teammates with Utah sophomore safety Andre Godfrey. Many thought Wisconsin was the favorite to land Simpkins before he ultimately chose Utah. Overall, I think he is a great pick up because of his great athleticism, and I would not be surprised if he makes a contribution as a true freshman. Adding a talented receiver is a must in this class for Utah with both Kenneth Scott, Tim Patrick, and Bubba Poole graduating after this season.
Huntley is SPARQ verified 6' 1", 178 pounds with 4.76 speed. He is also an early enrollee like Simpkins. With Donovan Isom transferring, Brandon Cox undergoing surgery, and Travis Wilson and Kendal Thompson both graduating after this season, landing multiple quarterbacks in this class is key for Utah. Utah also has quarterback Kahi Neves committed as well. Utah has been favoring dual-threat quarterbacks lately for their offense, and Huntley is certainly in this mold. Watching his film*, Huntley's running and scrambling ability are clear. He has great moves and vision in the open field and the speed to out run defenders. As a passer, he shows great accuracy, good arm strength, and he keeps his eyes down field. He does not panic in the pocket under pressure. He is not the most polished quarterback in the pocket and needs to improve his footwork. He fits exactly what Utah wants in a quarterback with his combination of running and throwing. While Huntley was committed to FAU, he also had offers from Cincinnati and Louisville among others.
Utah also landed a transfer from Cal, defensive end Sione Sina. While he had impressive offers as a JUCO recruit coming out of College of San Mateo (San Mateo, Calif.), including Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Texas A&M, Utah, and Washington State among others, he redshirted in 2013 and played in only one game in 2014 for Cal. He will be a redshirt senior at Utah. In junior college, he showed off his ability to make plays in the backfield in his film*. It is unclear if he is a scholarship player or a walk on. Either way, the 6' 3", 275 pound defensive end will add depth to an already talented group for the Utes.