Utah Football Recruiting: Why the Utes Will Improve in 2012

Michael TierneyAnalyst IDecember 28, 2011

Coach Kyle Whittingham needs to improve recruiting slightly to compete better in the Pac-12.
Coach Kyle Whittingham needs to improve recruiting slightly to compete better in the Pac-12.Harry How/Getty Images

The Utah Utes' recruiting has continually improved since 2009, when the program had one of the worst recruiting classes in the country. Utah jumped to 40th nationally in 2010, and the program ranked 41st in 2011.

The Utes' 2012 class is currently ranked about the same; however, they still have ten more scholarships to give out. Utah should finish 2012 ranked close to 35th.

The bottom line is that those recruiting numbers should equate to more talent in 2012. Utah went 7-5 in 2011 (4-5 in the Pac-12), but 2012 could be a nine-win season.

Utah has coaching stability and a good number of returning players, and the program has recruited fairly well in the last three years.

Utah only loses their starting fullback and tackles on offense.

Defensively, they lose two starting linebackers, one lineman and one player in the secondary. With eight players returning on offense and seven on defense, the Utes will be in a strong position in 2012.

Utah has already recruited three 4-star players in 2012 and can take on about 10 more commitments. The three top players that the Utes picked up are athlete Chase Hansen, cornerback Justin Thomas and running back Kelvin York, who was previously a USC commit.

Utah pulled in two average-to-good recruiting classes in 2010 and 2011.

This year's class in 2012 looks about the same so far, but there is still time to improve.

Coach Kyle Whittingham's push to move to the top of the Pac-12 South may take a few more years because his average-to-good classes will yield average-to-good results on the field. A two- or three-year lag is the common school of thought, although some argue in favor of a one-year lag. Either way, times will be tough in the immediate future. 

2012 has been a better year in recruiting so far for the Utes. Taking on York, a former 4-star pledge to the Trojans, just might be a sign of the times to come.

Total 2012 Verbals: 17

5-Star Verbals: 0

4-Star Verbals: 3

Latest Verbal: 12/20/11 RB Kelvin York (4-star)