Aug 29, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes tight end Jake Murphy (82) runs for a touchdown after a catch during the first half against the Utah State Aggies at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
So it’s that time of year, where adult men are forced to tell 17 year old kids that they’re really awesome.
If you’re a regular reader here you know we don’t spend a ton of time on recruiting. There are a lot of reasons for it, from the fact that I couldn’t hope to do as good a job as the Scout or Rivals sites to I try not to get so very worked up over the whims of 17 year olds. I mean lets all admit right now that at 17, we were all pretty much dumb-asses. When we get our class signed next week, I’ll offer some opinions.
But what is interesting is some of the trends. Namely that since our move to the Pac-12, our normal recruiting grounds, California, have been tough sledding while we’re finding success with some talented kids in Texas, Florida and Louisiana.
First let me say that is a good thing I believe. I think the California talent pool tends to get overrated and at the same time in those other states, I think there is so much talent, more than a little bit of it gets underrated. Plus this is the Pac-12 now and we have to go nationwide to find players.
Second, the Pac-12 schools have shown that they’re going to play nasty with us. It seems they’re telling recruits Salt Lake City is in fact Laramie, Wyoming and we have an even stiffer honor code that BYU. But we’re in the big boy leagues now so we had to expect that.
Plus the kids we’re recruiting now, we’re new to them. We used to look for gems that the Pac-12 schools missed, now we’re fighting with them. They’ve heard their pitches forever, and ours for 3 years. Getting on an even playing field will take time.
Meanwhile in that Texas/Louisiana area we have a very nice recruiting weapon in Brian Johnson. Here is an African-American kid who came from Houston to Salt Lake, had great success and loved it. And that Utah is really a unique place that has to have the most diverse football team in the nation. A place where you can have any experience you’re looking for and our coaches put guys who weren’t five stars in high school into THE LEAGUE. And it’s clearly winning.
At the same time however, we have to understand that recruiting at this level is played hard, fast and a little dirty. So de-committs are going to happen. Those Pac-12 schools are going to keep pitching the idea that we’re not one of them, and for awhile that will work. I’m sure no one wants to hear it but I think it’s reality.
I’ll be back next Wednesday to talk about the good and bad of how it all shook out.