The brand new early signing period is something that Coach Whittingham has been saying he’s been wanting for years, and during the first day he and the staff did a really nice job kicking off the 2018 signing class.
Of course, the crown jewel of the class is King Tutt, Jack Tuttle, the 4 (almost 5) star QB out of San Marcos, Calif. (Mission Hills HS). Tuttle is one of the top ranked pocket passers in the country, and has an offer sheet from virtually everywhere in the country. Tuttle will be an early enrollee, which gives him a head start going into spring and the summer. The question will be, will he be able to push Tyler Huntley going into the fall? The kid has a ton of talent, and it will be fun to watch him progress as he gets on campus.
I really like what I see from the JC ranks with these early signees. Utah pulled in Bryant Pirtle out of Pima Community College, a linebacker that looks like he likes to hit. With the loss of a pair of starting linebackers, Utah is a little thin there, and they’ve had amazing experience with transfer backers in the past. A guy like him looks like he could contribute immediately, which no doubt the staff wants to see. The Utes also added to the d-line with Jeremiah Jordan, out of Mt. San Jacinto College. Utah is losing some studs on the d-line, so they’re going to be a bit young and raw there next season, so adding some depth by going to the JC ranks is a great call. And how about this for a stat, a quarter of his total tackles this season (12 of 45) were for a loss.
To fill out these early signees, the Utes also added to the o-line, secondary and wide receiving corps. Braeden E. Daniels was an Illinois commit until a few days ago, and is a bit light at 284, but should hopefully develop over the next couple of years and join the rotation. Malone Mataele is a very interesting prospect that is going to play safety. He’s not huge, at 5-10 177, so he’s got to bulk up a little bit, but I almost expect Chase Hansen to move to linebacker this next season, so I think a little depth at safety will be needed. And Utah continues to hit up Florida and have grabbed Terrell Perriman, a wide out from Miami Central. Perriman ranked third in Miami-Dade county in receiving yards in 2017 with 671 yards and seven touchdowns, while averaging 19.2 yards per reception. In the Pac-12, I don’t think you can have too many wide receivers, and Utah is building a very good group. And if he can do anything like 19.2 yards per catch in college (yeah, I know, not going to happen), Utah will have a major deep threat on their team in a year or so. I do expect most of these freshmen to redshirt, but if they have the skill, Coach Whitt has proven he’s not afraid to play freshmen.
It sounds like this is all the names we’re going to see Utah sign during this early signing period, and that this class is going to be a little smaller overall, due to some returning missionaries, and probably a “push forward” or two from this past season. Overall, I’m really liking what I see thus far, and am excited to see these names on campus, because I think Utah is filling some open gaps going into the next season.