NCF On The Trail: Utah Utes

LSU and Texas A&M have become bigger rivals on the field and in recruiting now that both are in the SEC. Plus, few programs are trending like Ohio State is on the field and on the recruiting trail.

Early Offer: Malik Jefferson's final 7 

November, 24, 2014
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Malik Jefferson reduced his list to seven schools on Monday, and though the list is hardly a surprise, recruiters think there are still some in store with the No. 35 player in the country.

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video Utah continues to make the most of a rebound season on the field with a solid 2015 class and a 2016 class that was jump-started with the pledge of ESPN Junior 300 safety Micah Croom. Croom joins Kahi Neves as 2016 pledges for the Utes.


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A few weeks ago, Adam McLean was asked what it would take to back away from his Penn State pledge, and he said “nothing can change my mind.” Well, something happened and the ESPN 300 prospect is back on the market. Plus, Zach Gentry has been committed to Texas since May, but rumors sprouted Tuesday he was considering taking other official visits.

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ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Pac-12 

November, 19, 2014
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The updated 2016 ESPN 300 was released on Wednesday, and 44 prospects from Pac-12 states are included, though the top two -- quarterbacks Malik Henry and Jacob Eason -- are committed to Florida State and Georgia, respectively. The Pac-12 holds commitments from 12 prospects in the ESPN Junior 300, as Oregon (three), USC (two) and UCLA (one) have 100 percent of their commitments included in the list.

Three recruits to watch


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 11, 2014
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There wasn't much movement on the Pac-12 recruiting scorecard this weekend, but Utah was able to bounce back from a tough loss to Oregon by scoring a commitment, and Arizona State might have set the stage for one of the conference's stronger runs toward signing day with a big win against Notre Dame. Elsewhere, Stanford is looking to gain some recruiting momentum after some time without a commitment, and several Pac-12 targets are headed out of the area this weekend.


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Best of the visits: Pac-12

November, 9, 2014
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Arizona State dominated the Pac-12 visitor list this weekend, as the Sun Devils hosted four ESPN 300 prospects on official visits and received unofficial visits from at least three 2016 ESPN 300 prospects. Elsewhere, Utah hosted a significant official visitor in ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and both Arizona and Washington had several California prospects in town.

Sun Devil statement

Arizona State saw everything go right during its biggest recruiting weekend of the season. ESPN 300 prospects Christian Kirk, Brady White, Trent Irwin, Zach Robertson and Porter Gustin were all in attendance to see the Sun Devils put together a big win against Notre Dame.

White has been committed to the Sun Devils for months and is putting in some serious effort to recruit the other four ESPN 300 prospects -- all uncommitted. He has an especially close relationship with Irwin, his high school teammate and good friend.
Kirk is as much of a local celebrity as it gets with hometown recruits, as he has been the top recruiting target for Arizona State and Sun Devils fans alike since his sophomore year. His highly anticipated official visit took place this weekend, and surely Arizona State did everything it could to make an impression. Safety D.J. Morgan, wide receiver Dylan Crawford and outside linebacker Bryce Youngquist -- all 2016 ESPN 300 prospects -- made the trip to Tempe over the weekend and all were impressed by what they saw. The big win might have planted the seeds for a significant 2016 recruiting haul for the Sun Devils. Also in attendance was Arizona State offensive tackle commit Mason Walter. St. Brown visits Utah

While Utah came up short on the scoreboard against Oregon, the game atmosphere in Salt Lake City looked to be impressive as always. And that's a good thing, considering ESPN 300 wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown was on his official visit. While the trip to Utah was seen a while ago as somewhat superfluous, considering St. Brown appeared down to Notre Dame, Stanford and USC as his serious options, the Utes at this point shouldn't be considered out of this at all, as the coaches have done a great job recruiting the talented receiver. Utah also had several committed recruits on hand, including linebacker Cody Barton and 2016 athlete Kahi Neves. A Wildcat win

Arizona kept pace in the Pac-12 South with a home win over Colorado. And while Arizona State boasted the lion's share of impact visitors this weekend, the Wildcats had a few of their own.

Arizona tight end commit Jamie Nunley made the trip out from California, and apparently had a chance to spend some time with head coach Rich Rodriguez on the sideline. Huskies host two California juniors

Washington suffered a tough loss to UCLA, but was able to bring at least two 2016 California prospects up to Seattle for the game, in running back Sean McGrew and quarterback Kevin Davidson. While McGrew has Cal and UCLA out front in his recruitment, the trip to Washington shows he's still giving the Huskies a look. And though Davidson is still looking for his first offer, he's been in serious contact with Pac-12 programs such as Cal, Colorado and Washington.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

November, 7, 2014
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The Oregon Ducks raised the bar for visit weekends last week, earning a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive end Canton Kaumatule during the trip and a verbal from 2016 wide receiver Dillon Mitchell two days later. This weekend, at least two programs are looking to bring in the kind of official visitors that could make that same kind of impact, and a coveted Pac-12 prospect takes a visit to the Pacific Northwest.

Notre Dame at Arizona State


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Oregon is still working hard on its 2015, but that hasn't stopped the Ducks from landing quality 2016 targets like receiver Dillon Mitchell. Plus, why is Branden Bowen important to both Ohio State and Utah's 2015 class?

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Recruiting junior college talent can be a constant gamble of possibly adding a fully developed body, ready to provide immediate help and cover any depth concerns, and the possibility of missing entirely on getting the recruit admitted academically or getting a prospect with a limited window of opportunity who still isn't ready to contribute.

But one game this weekend -- when Utah travels to Arizona State -- will provide a perfect look at what successful junior college recruiting can do to the fortunes of a program.

Close to 20 players on each of the Arizona State and Utah rosters have junior college experience, and several of those will have a big say in Saturday’s final score.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 28, 2014
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The Pac-12 saw a new commitment and a flip on Sunday, while Stanford and Utah took advantage of important recruiting weekends and focus is already shifting toward a huge upcoming visitor list for Oregon.

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The center of Bill Snyder’s program at Kansas State is local players, and K-State has done a masterful job with the 2015 class in the Sunflower State. Plus, Utah hasn’t grabbed a lot of recruiting headlines so far this season, but one Pac 12 recruiter says it should be.


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Best of the visits: Pac 12

October, 26, 2014
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Stanford and Utah took advantage of big weekends, posting home wins in front of a number of important visitors. The Cardinal hosted four official visitors for their big win against Oregon State, while the Utes had several official visitors and at least one out of state 2016 unofficial visitor.

Fond of the farm

ESPN 300 safety Ben Edwards took an official visit to Stanford over the weekend and had positive things to say. After committing to both Auburn and Ohio State during this cycle, Edwards is looking hard at Stanford and several other programs.



Stanford also hosted running back Cameron Scarlett, wide receiver Trent Irwin and defensive end Kenneth Brinson on official visits.

Last-second statement

Utah picked a good time to pull out an exciting win, as commit Donzale Roddie, along with safety Tyson Cisrow, were in attendance on official visits. They were both important visitors, as Roddie is already committed to Utah but open to speaking with other programs, while Cisrow would be another significant Florida addition for the Utes.



Utah also had 2016 offensive lineman Tucker Scott on hand. The Utes were Scott's first offer and it certainly didn't hurt that quarterback Travis Wilson, who attended Scott's high school, led Utah to the win against USC.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

October, 24, 2014
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We're still a week away from the in-season megavisit that will take place when Oregon hosts Stanford, but there are more than a few intriguing visitor lists in the Pac-12 this weekend. It's a weekend that could provide clarity in the Pac-12 South, and recruits will be on hand as Utah hosts USC and the Arizona schools travel to the state of Washington. Elsewhere, Stanford hosts Oregon State and important ESPN 300 prospects as we look at the top three visit weekends in the Pac-12.

USC at Utah

The Utes are scheduled to host at least three official visitors this weekend, led by Utah wide receiver commit Donzale Roddie. Also on hand will be safety Tyson Cisrow and defensive end Simitali Moala. Cisrow is another in a long line of Florida standouts the Utes are chasing in this 2015 class. Utah already holds commitments from three Florida preps and is well on its way to matching the five Sunshine State prospects signed in the 2014 class. This will be an important visit for Roddie as well, as the three-star recruit is being chased by Colorado and has said in the past that he'll continue to listen to other schools despite his verbal commitment.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 21, 2014
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Even without a public commitment, the Pac-12 was full of recruiting news this weekend, as every home team hosted visitors and ESPN 300 prospects made their way to each Saturday game. Elsewhere, Arizona State extended an offer to a 2017 quarterback and Utah has a chance to make a big statement.


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