When discussing Los Angeles area recruiting, former Nebraska and USC assistant coach Marvin Sanders stressed the importance of an established presence "in the 500-mile area around your program."
Utah recruited well in its own state, but the Utes are struggling to establish much of a presence beyond it in the other regions crucial to the Pac-12. Outside of its home state, Utah landed just two recruits from other states with Pac-12 schools.
Though Utah was among the toughest teams in the front seven each of its first three seasons since joining the Pac-12, a notable issue to which head coach Kyle Whittingham has repeatedly referred is the Utah's lack of speed at skill positions in comparison to their new league counterparts.
His 2014 recruiting class isn't lacking in potential difference makers in those areas, as Whittingham told The Deseret News.
We feel we match up on the line of scrimmage with anybody in the country...But we needed to improve the speed and athleticism on the perimeter and that really is something that jumps out at you when you look at this class.
Whittingham pulled more than double the number of prospects from SEC country with five, including quarterback Donovan Isom of Destrehan, La. as it did from the Pac-12's geographic footprint.
Recruiting into the Southeast is a strategy other Pac-12 programs are attempting, but doing so more to augment classes made up primarily of players from within the recruiting base.
Establishing Utah as a Pac-12 brand starts with recruiting in Pac-12 country.
Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. Recruiting rankings culled from 247Sports.com. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.