Utah’s 2022 recruiting class will officially close on Feb 2. At that point, a new football cycle will begin with spring camp just around the corner. The 2022 class is all but wrapped up as Utah signed most of the class during the early signing period in December. WR Sidney Mbanasor is the lone remaining commit and is expected to sign on Feb 2.
As it currently stands, Utah has 105 offers out to recruits in the 2023 cycle. In the three prior recruiting cycles, Utah extended an average of 218.33 offers per cycle. This indicates that the 2023 recruiting cycle is still developing. We can expect Utah to roughly double the number of offers between now and the December early signing period.
This is a very early look at the 2023 recruiting cycle, but it’s possible to find some interesting insights. How many commits do we have already? What positions are the staff prioritizing early? Which states are the staff recruiting in? What level of recruits are they involved with? Let’s dive in and see what we can learn!
Utah currently holds two 2023 commitments. The first is Mateaki Helu, a 3-star ATH out of Tooele. Utah will also have one returning missionary in Solatoa Moea’i. Moea’i was a 3-star OT from the 2020 class. These are some solid building blocks for the 2023 class, which will come into form over the next 10 months.
Offers by Position
Utah’s top-3 positions by offer are WR, CB, and RB. Focusing on WR makes sense as Utah will lose at least Solomon Enis and Jaylen Dixon. When you account for natural transfer portal attrition, Utah could lose even more WRs. The team will definitely be in a position to replenish the WR room.
The number of CB offers is interesting. Utah has a fairly young CB room, with 8 of the 10 CBs on the roster will be a sophomore or younger next season. However, the team will lose Clark Phillips III to the draft next year. The team might be searching for the next lockdown corner to step in and make an immediate impact.
RB is always a position of emphasis for Utah. In the past four recruiting cycles, a RB has been in the top-5 of recruits taken by Utah in that class. After next season, Utah will lose Tavion Thomas to the draft. Micah Bernard is also draft-eligible, and if he has a good season, he could declare for the draft as well.
Remember that Utah will extend about 100 more offers in the next 10 months. The patterns we are seeing now are liable to change as the coaches hone in on what their needs are and who they are after.
Offers by State
Utah has at least one offer out in 17 different states. 49.5% of Utah’s offers are to recruits in either Texas or California. Prioritizing these two states makes sense, given these are the two biggest high school football hotbeds in the western US.
The second tier of states includes Florida, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, Washington, and Hawaii. The big surprise here is Georgia, where Utah has made eight offers. These eight offers equal the total offers in the state from the prior two recruiting cycles combined. It appears to be a staff-wide focus to get into Georgia with offers out to recruits of various position groups. The eight offers in Georgia include 1 WR, 1 TE, 1 OT, 1 CB, 1 S, 2 LB, and 1 DL. This could be a sign that Utah is trying to expand its footprint in the South.
First, let’s take a look at what star ratings mean. Here is what 247 Sports has to say about the meaning of star ratings:
247Sports Rating Explanations
Five-stars (98-110 rating): The top 32 players in the country to mirror the 32 first round picks in the NFL Draft. These are 32 players that we believe are the most likely to be drafted in the first round from each recruiting class. The full list of 32 with five-star ratings typically isn’t complete until the final ranking. Any player with a rating of more than 100 is considered a “franchise player” and one that does not come around in every recruiting class.
Four-stars (90-97 rating): These are players that we believe are the most likely to produce college careers that get them drafted. By National Signing Day, this number is typically in the range of 350 prospects, roughly the top 10 percent of prospects in a given class.
Three-stars (80-89 rating): This is where the bulk of college football prospects are found and it incorporates a large range of ability levels, all of whom we consider as possible NFL players long term.
A high three-star (87-89): is considered a player with significant NFL upside who expect to be an impact college football player.
A mid three-star (84-86): is a player that we consider to be a capable starter for a Power Five football team and an impact player at the Group of Five level.
A low three-star (80-83): is a player that we consider to be a potential contributor at a Power Five program but a probable Group of Five starter with impact potential.
Two-stars (70-79 rating): These are prospects that we consider to be FBS-level players with very limited NFL potential.
Please note that I have used the 247 Sports Composite Rating for star ratings and national rankings, which averages ratings across major media recruiting outlets. If a player is not rated or unranked, it does not mean the player is lower than a two-star rating. All this means is that not enough major media recruiting outlets have rated the player yet, and there is not enough information at this point to develop the composite rating.
Offers by Star Rating
Utah coaches appear to be setting their sights high early on in the process. 57.1% of their offers are to recruits ranked as 4-star or higher.
Offers by National Ranking
As you can see, it looks as though Utah’s sweet spot early on in this recruiting cycle is in the 101-300 range. Utah is also active in the highest tier, having made an offer to 19 of the current top-100 recruits. Notably, 24.8% of Utah’s offers are to players who are currently unranked in the composite ratings. This speaks to Utah’s well-known aptitude at being a step ahead in identifying talent. It is likely that most, if not all, of the 26 unranked recruits will fall into the high 3-star to 4-star range by the end of the 2023 recruiting cycle.
A Final Thought
As I mentioned before, most of this year’s recruiting class signed during the early signing period in December. So, most of the class signed before seeing Utah in the Rose Bowl. There is an expectation that Utah will receive a “bump” in recruiting following the strong showing in the Rose Bowl and the good publicity that came from it. The awaited “bump” is expected to come in this 2023 recruiting cycle.
Winning the Pac-12 Championship and going to the Rose Bowl are both firsts for Utah. Both of these accomplishments will only be good things for Utah on the recruiting trail. But, the truth is that we simply don’t know what the full impact of the 2021 season will be until the 2023 and even 2024 classes are complete. What we do know is that Utah’s future is brighter than ever. This 2023 recruiting cycle could be the beginning of Utah Football taking the next step to being a bonafide premier program in the Pac-12.