Since joining the Pac-12, the Utah Utes have started to land more top recruits. The 2016 recruiting class is arguably their best recruiting class ever. With a shot at landing one of the best high school players the state of Utah has ever produced in Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) defensive tackle Jay Tufele strongly considering the hometown Utes, we thought we would take a look back at the top rated recruits the Utes have landed.
The highest rated recruits Utah has historically gotten have come primarily from the junior college ranks. All of the recruits in this list were rated four-star recruits by the 247Sports Composite Ranking. They are ordered by their 247Sports Composite score.
2009 was a banner year for the state of Utah with the No. 1 overall JUCO recruit and four in-state recruits that were rated as four-stars. Utah managed to keep three of these players home, but none of them really panned out, mostly due to injuries. Utah also brought in a lot of talent from the high school ranks in the 2012 class. Utah’s 2013 class did not feature any four-star recruits, but they did land two transfers from other Pac-12 schools that were both highly rated. The 2016 class is also well represented on this list.
James Aiono DT Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) 0.9667 No. 1 JUCO 2009
Winning the 2009 Sugar Bowl really had its perks for Utah football recruiting. They landed the No. 1 overall JUCO recruit in the 2009 class in addition to two other four-star recruits, all of which were from the state of Utah. Aiono did not live up to the hype though of being the No. 1 JUCO recruit. He appeared in 23 games in two seasons at Utah, recording 12 tackles. He went undrafted in 2012. He was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts but was waived before the start of the season.
Kylie Fitts DE Redlands East Valley (Redlands, Calif.) 0.9572 No. 93 High School 2013
The highest rated high school recruit ever to play for the Utes came to Utah via a transfer from UCLA (the school he committed to out of high school and played for as a true freshman in 2013). Fitts is entering his senior year at Utah. He led the team in sacks and was second in pass breakups last year after filling in for an injured Hunter Dimick. Fitts has ended up on many preseason watch lists and figures to be an All-Pac-12 candidate this season.
Troy Williams QB Narbonne (Harbor City, Calif.) 0.9512 No. 101 High School 2013
Williams was one of the top high school recruits at quarterback in the 2013 class. He committed to Washington and former head coach Steve Sarkisian. After the 2014 season, Williams decided to transfer from Washington and played a year at Santa Monica College (Santa Monica, Calif.), before committing to Utah. Williams was rated the No. 42 JUCO recruit in the 2016 recruiting class (0.8737). He is currently atop the depth chart at quarterback for Utah this season, and he is one of Utah’s captains.
Garett Bolles OT Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) 0.9428 No. 3 JUCO 2016
Bolles is one of the highest rated JUCO recruit Utah has ever landed. Landing Bolles along with all of the other talented recruits in the 2016 class seemed to indicate Utah’s recruiting is really starting to pick up. Bolles is in contention to start at left tackle this season for Utah, and coaches have praised him throughout fall camp.
Paul Soliai DT Coffeyville C.C. (Coffeyville, Kan.) 0.9333 No. 7 JUCO 2004
His best season at Utah was as a senior in 2006 where he recorded 36 total tackles and two sacks. Soliai was drafted in the fourth round pick No. 108 in the 2007 NFL Draft and has enjoyed a long NFL career. He currently plays for the Carolina Panthers and made the Pro Bowl in 2011.
John Cullen OT Fullerton College (Fullerton, Calif.) 0.9222 No. 4 JUCO 2010
Cullen started 24 games for Utah at left tackle and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors as a senior in 2011. He is now a professional rugby player for the Seattle Saracens.
Jeremiah Poutasi OT Desert Pines (Las Vegas, Nev.) 0.9163 No. 215 High School 2012
Poutasi was a three-year starter at Utah before leaving early for the NFL. He spent his freshman season at right tackle earning honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors. He spent his final two seasons as Utah’s left tackle. He was named second-team All-Pac-12 as a junior in 2014. He was drafted in the third round pick 66 by the Tennessee Titans in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Keith McGill DB Cerritos College (Norwalk, Calif.) 0.9100 No. 10 JUCO 2012
McGill played both cornerback and safety at Utah. McGill’s Utah career was slowed by a shoulder injury that caused him to miss much of his junior year and forced him to sit out an entire year for rehab. He returned from injury in 2013 and was named honorable mention All-Pac-12. He recorded 12 pass breakups as a senior in 2013. McGill was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2014 NFL Draft in the fourth round. He returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 season.
Harvey Langi RB Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) 0.9068 No. 213 High School 2011
Langi played running back at Utah in 2011 (recording 70 yards on 13 carries) before leaving on a two-year LDS mission. After his mission, Langi opted to transfer to BYU where he is primarily playing defense.
Jackson Barton OT Brighton (Salt Lake City, Utah) 0.9043 No. 244 High School 2014
Barton redshirted in the 2014 season. He played in all 13 games as a redshirt freshman in 2015 (including 11 at left tackle where he split time with Sam Tevi). He is in the running to be a starting tackle at Utah this season and should see plenty of playing time.
Chris Washington DB Northridge (Layton, Utah) 0.9034 No. 214 High School 2009
The talented safety had his career derailed by injuries. According to CFB Stats, Washington appeared in four games in 2010, recording two assisted tackles.
Travis Wilson QB San Clemente (San Clemente, Calif.) 0.9012 No. 285 High School 2012
Wilson is the only quarterback ever to start all four years at Utah. While his career had its ups and downs, Wilson helped lead Utah to success in the Pac-12 era. The 2014 and 2015 teams he was the quarterback of both finished the season ranked. Wilson started more games at quarterback at Utah than any other and was the 2014 Las Vegas Bowl MVP. He was also a team captain as a sophomore in 2013.
Marquis Wilson Juan Diego Catholic (Draper, Utah) 0.900 No. 155 High School 2005
Wilson showed flashes of potential at times, but he struggled with off-the-field incidents, including a DUI. His best season at Utah was as a sophomore in 2006 when he caught 25 passes for 398 yards and three touchdowns. He also returned 22 punts for 246 yards.
Aiona Key WR Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, Calif.) 0.900 No. 19 JUCO 2008
Key played at Utah in 2008 and 2009. His best year was 2009 where he appeared in 11 games and caught 26 passes for 227 yards and one touchdown. He originally committed to Boise State out of high school before going to junior college.
Latu Heimuli DT Highland (Salt Lake City, Utah) 0.8995 No. 229 High School 2009
Heimuli appeared in 31 games in four years at Utah, but injuries slowed his career. Only as a redshirt freshman in 2010 did he appear in more than nine games. He recorded three sacks in his career.
Maxs Tupai DE Murray (Salt Lake City, Utah) 0.8993 No. 298 High School 2016
Tupai was the top high school recruit in Utah’s 2016 class. He showed some talent in fall camp and very well could see some playing time as a true freshman at strong-side defensive end.
Hiva Lutui C Trinity (Euless, Texas) 0.8964 No. 317 High School 2012
Lutui was the likely candidate to start at center for Utah in 2016 before suffering a career-ending injury. He started several games at center in his career and saw reps as part of Utah’s guard rotation.
Justin Thomas DB West Orange-Stark (Orange, Texas) 0.8935 No. 331 High School 2012
Thomas has been a fixture in Utah’s secondary for the past three seasons. He will be a senior this year and is again atop the depth chart at nickel back. Thomas had a pick-six in last season’s opener against Michigan.
Kavika Luafatasaga LB Arizona Western College (Yuma, Ariz.) 0.8904 No. 20 JUCO 2016
Luafatasaga was Utah’s big National Signing Day flip from Ole Miss. He got to Utah a little late, so coaches said he needs to work a bit more on learning the playbook and getting into shape. He should see playing time this season and has excellent size at linebacker.