Recruiting Reset: Defense

Recruiting Reset: Defense

Utah has put a heavy emphasis on the defensive line and cornerback spots on defense with success coming in one of those areas so far...

DEFENSIVE LINE:

Utah has made the defensive line a priority for the 2012 class and has been pretty successful to this point with three commits, all at the end position.

DEFENSIVE END:

Moses Foluahola COMMITTED
Foluahola picked up an offer at the Elite Camp and committed to the Utes that day. He's got nice size and a good motor. Could pick up more interest locally and nationally once the season gets going, but isn't going anywhere but Utah.

Hunter Dimick COMMITTED
Dimick came out of nowhere to impress at the lineman camp and pick up an offer from the Utes. He committed shortly after and is a solid addition to the class. He's fairly stocky, but uses his weight well and will probably grow into a defensive tackle down the line.

Sione Tupouata COMMITTED
Tupouata is a JC guy that was originally part of the 2010 class, but is currently at Snow while getting his grades in order. He's athletic and has even played running back in the past. A definite instant impact guy wherever they decide to put him.

Troy Hinds- Offered
Hinds is the creme de la creme of the 2012 class in the state of Utah. An elite defensive end/outside linebacker/tight end prospect. He's a sign and send kid so his impact is years away, but he's a manchild who has great speed, size, and an understanding of how to play the game. Utah is one of his top 5 schools, along with Nebraska, Cal, BYU, and Notre Dame. Word is that he wants to stay in state with both Utah and BYU doing very well with him, but I can't shake the feeling that Nebraska has something up their sleeve. It's a feeling I've had since I first spoke with Troy.

Polo Manuakainui- Offered
Manuakainui is an absolute monster of a human being and would be a great project pickup for the Utes with a ton of upside. He's mentioned Utah as one of his top five and said he'd visit in July. Whether or not that has happened is unknown to this point, but Utah looks like they'll get an official visit out of him.

Others to Watch:

John Gandy

DEFENSIVE TACKLE:

Donald Hopkins- Offered (Committed to Missouri)
Hopkins has bounced around time and time again on what he's going to do, but finally settled on Missouri. He's been high on Utah and Morgan Scalley for awhile, but was unable to make it out to Salt Lake City for a scheduled unofficial visit recently. Hopkins has said that he wanted to visit Utah before making a decision, but has also said that his recruitment is over. I'm not buying it. Even with Hopkins committed elsewhere, there's a very good chance he'll still visit Utah officially in the fall.

Kory Rasmussen- Offered
Rasmussen has an offer and is a teammate of current commit Kiha Sai. He attended the Elite Camp in June and could play at either defensive line spot. Don't be surprised if Rasmussen ends up taking his official visit the same weekend as Sai.

Pio Vatuvei- Offered
Vatuvei has narrowed down his list to a top 5 that includes Utah. He was planning a mid July announcement, but has pushed it back after picking up interest from a few more teams like USC and Oregon. The Utes are in a good place and he said he'd definitely be visiting along with visits to Arizona and Washington.

Vaha Vainuku-
Vainuku has said that he'd commit to Utah immediately if offered. He attended the elite camp, but the coaches want to see more development over the season before they decide what to do.

Others to Watch:

Austin Burtnett
Lino Tuifalasai (JC)

LINEBACKER:

The linebacker spot doesn't appear to be a big need for the Utes as they've only extended a few offers. With the movement on the roster to bring Brian Blechen up from safety and Trevor Reilly back from defensive end, as well as the glut of other youngsters pushing for time, linebacker isn't a pressing need. Look for this position to be addressed more in the 2013 class.

Moana Ofahengaue- Offered
Ofahengaue seems to enjoy the process and said that he isn't planning an anytime soon. He's a veyr good athlete, with freakishly long arms, who could end up at multiple spots. Has a lot of interest outside of the state, meaning an official to Utah isn't definitive.

Jared Afalava- Offered
Afalava has been viewed as a strong lean to Utah for some time, but Oregon has jumped into the picture and I'm told the Ducks are doing well. UCLA could be another sleeper in this battle, but when it's all said and done, Afalava should be a Ute.

Brett Bafaro- Offered
Bafaro is a football player in the Brian Blechen mold. He has a Utah offer, but it will likely come down to Washington or Oregon.

Sawyer Powell-
Powell is dying for an offer from BYU, but could 'settle' for a Ute offer if extended. Has one offer from Oregon State, but has been hitting the camp circuit hard. Is an unbelievable athlete putting up ridiculous numbers at the camps.

Others to Watch:

Caleb Saulo
Dawson Housley
Hardy Nickerson- Offered
Johnny Watkins (JC)
Semisi Afeaki

CORNERBACK:

Is there a bigger position of need for the 2012 class than at corner? With the question marks on the team currently at that spot and not a single corner landed in the 2011 class, Utah needs guys that can play right away, so they're looking heavily towards the JC players. With this being a weak corner class out west, this doesn't bode well for the Utes.

Travell Dixon- Offered
Dixon has offers from everywhere and appears to be favoring Alabama at the moment. He might be the premier JC corner in the country and would be a likely instant starter for Utah in 2012 if they can land him. The Utes appear to be on the outside looking in at the moment, but Dixon isn't planning on deciding until late in the process, so they have time to get back into the mix.

Kasseim Everett- Offered
Everett's only offer at the moment is from the Utes so that's who he is favoring at the moment. Is receiving interest from a few Big 12 and Pac 12 schools and will probably grab a few more during the season. Said he will officially visit in the fall.

Chris Bivins- Offered (Committed to South Florida)
Bivins has ties to the state out Utah and made a surprise early commitment to South Florida. He's been blowing up at camps and I doubt that his recruitment is over.

Justin Thomas- Offered
Thomas has offers from Big 12 and SEC country and appears as if he'll likely stay down there. In a recent conversation, he had no interest in Utah. We'll see if Morgan Scalley can drum up some interest and get a visit, but it looks very unlikely.

Brandon Beaver and Alphonso Marsh- Offered
Marsh and Beaver are going to be a package deal for one school. They're elite corners that would compete for time immediately (assuming Marsh heals up from an injury that has hindered him). As of now, these two aren't coming to Utah, but it's early and things can always change. Don't be surprised if they both visit, but don't read too much into that visit other than a free trip at this time.

SAFETY:

The Utes addressed the safety position heavily in the 2011 class and they likely won't take more than two. Lee is already on board and will be heading out on a mission his freshman year. A JC player would be ideal as the other pickup.

Austin Lee COMMITTED
Lee picked up an offer from the Utes in mid-May and committed the next day, giving Utah the top safety prospect in the state for 2012. He's an elite player who has out-performed his ranking at camps over the spring and summer. Lee plans on taking a mission his freshman year at Utah.

Gerald Bowman (JC)- Offered
Utah was one of Bowman's first offers, but he's got over 20 of them now and has his pick of where he wants to go. Oregon looks to be sitting pretty at the moment, but he has said that he would visit Utah at some point. With the influx of offers, that may not be the case now though.

Seth Jacobs- Offered

Jacobs is another one of those kids that you want in your program. Utah got in a little late and now he's not mentioning the Utes at all. A visit would be very surprising.

Ma'ne Manaea Manaea attended the All Poly Camp and has a strong interest in playing at Utah. If offered, they'd likely jump to the front of his list, if not get a commitment. Manaea is versatile enough to end up on the other side of the ball as well at receiver.

Others to Watch:

Christian Tago
Chris Santini- Offered
Laiu Moeakiola

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