The following is a press release from Utah Athletics.
SALT LAKE CITY— The Utah football program loaded up on defensive backs and made big inroads into the South with its 2014 signing class, announced today. Including midyear transfers and early enrollees, the Utes landed 16 new players—six of them defensive backs and eight from southern states.
“Our first recruiting priority is always to get the best available players in Utah and we feel as though we accomplished that with Jackson Barton, Lowell Lotulelei and Alani Havili-Katoa,” said Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham.
Per NCAA rules, a National Letter of Intent may be signed for the upcoming year only, so those prospects who plan to serve church missions before enrolling in school did not sign letters today.
While Utah and California typically produce the most recruits for the Utes, Florida won those honors for the first time. “We expanded our recruiting territory to include the football-rich state of Florida and are pleased with our success there,” said Whittingham. “We did very well in the South overall (Utah added two players from Louisiana and one from Texas).”
More than a third of the class will replenish Utah’s defensive secondary, while wide receivers took three scholarships. “Our biggest needs were at the skill positions and we feel we greatly improved our team in those areas with this signing class,” said Whittingham. “Although we didn’t have as many spots to fill at other positions, we are equally as excited about the players we signed on the offensive and defensive lines, quarterback and running back.”
The Utes signed a record five players from Florida and added three from Utah and California and two from Louisiana. Hawaii, Nevada and Texas are home states of the other three recruits.
Of Utah’s 16-member class, 12 are incoming freshman and three are junior college transfers. Seniors Tevin Carter and Kaelin Clay signed during the mid-year JC signing period in December. Freshmen Barton and Havili-Katao graduated early from high school are already enrolled at Utah and will participate in spring camp, which starts on March 18.