Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Coach Whittingham Text Quotes from Press Conference

Feb. 3, 2010

Opening statement:
"As is the case virtually every year, I feel good about the class. Our assistant coaches did a great job finding the talent and assembling a very athletic and skilled class of recruits. Just some highlights, I thought that we did a good job in our three primary areas: Texas, California and Utah. We had eight signees in Texas, eight in California, seven in Utah (eight if you count Sean Sellwood, our walk-on punter who we gave a scholarship to) so the three areas that we targeted the most, obviously produced the most players. We did get a player out of Hawaii, V.J. Fehoko. He's a quality player. I felt like we covered all of our bases as far as needs. We were pretty much across the board, a couple quarterbacks, a few wideouts, a few running backs, a couple of tight ends, three offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, three linebackers, a safety and four corners. The needs that we had were addressed. The most pressing issue was replacing Zane Beadles at offensive tackle and getting John Cullen helps us. It felt like it was a good year, as always, time will tell. Two years from now, we'll really be able to tell about the impact this class had on this program. All indications are that we got a lot of good players. We had a good signing day as far as that we had three or four guys on the fence, we lost one of them but the other two or three we got. It was a positive day as far as that goes. Now it's time for the follow-up work. There's a lot of work to do when they do sign with transcripts getting to the right spots, the clearinghouse and just making sure all of the details are taken care of. The work is not over. That's the task at hand right now is following up with this class and making sure we get all of the administrative stuff done and then starting tomorrow we'll get going on the 2011 class, which we already have a pretty good start on, particularly in-state."



On the status of this current recruiting class:
"There is one player still in flux. He may or may not come to us but we'll find out. Only time will tell. It could be today or not until fall camp."

On this class making an immediate impact:
"Typically, the junior college players are two or three years older than high school guys so you would expect that they would have a chance to play sooner. James Aiono was in last year's class and had to get himself squared away academically so he was put in this year's class and he's a guy we're already counting on to be a factor. I already mentioned John Cullen. Star Lotulelei is another junior college transfer that could have an impact so just in general you expect those junior college sooner than the high school guys."

On true freshmen having a chance to make an immediate impact:
"We think they all do. It's a good group. I always hate to single out guys because you never know until they get on campus and start working with us exactly how they'll make that transition. I've found in the past that if you single out guys, it's meaningless because it doesn't usually hold true. I feel good about the freshmen. There is a lot of talented players in that class but, again, time will tell and they need a few more years to develop."

On junior college players eligibility:
"James Aiono is two-to-play-two. He used his redshirt year to get his academics in order. The '09 season was his redshirt year so now he's two for two. John Cullen is three-for-two. He has a redshirt year but we don't anticipate him using redshirt. We expect him to be in the mix. Star [Lotuleli] is three for three. He has three years of eligibility left, as does Ron Tongaonevai. He's a JC transfer from Snow College, who has a three-for-three clock. Just James [Aiono] is two-for-two, Cullen is three-for-two and the other guys are three-for-three. That's ideal to have your JC guys have three years. Those guys have worked out well for us historically."

On the linebackers:
"Obviously, the guys we've had in the program have a leg up in experience and knowledge of the scheme but I'm the type of guy that doesn't care if you've been in the program the past five years or five minutes, if you're the best guy, you'll play. Each of them will have an opportunity to show what they can do. It's all about production and results and whoever gets it done will be on the field."

On recruits heading to LDS Missions:
"We have a couple of players sent to missions before they enrolled. Sefa Tanoai and Ofa Latu were what we call, `sign and send guys.'"

On the wide receivers:
"We feel good about these guys. Kenneth Scott and Terrell Reese are very talent kids. They both come in very highly recruited and had some very good offers. Dres [Anderson] is a sleeper. He's a very underdeveloped kid who has a lot of development ahead of him that's going to take place. His father Flipper was a great NFL player. Those guys have a chance to make an impact, it's the same thing with our linebackers. With the tight ends coming on toward the end of last year, that will be something we'll gravitate toward more, utilization of the tight end. We want to get the best 11 on the field. If one of those 11 is a tight end, or two of them are tight ends, we'll adjust accordingly."

On pedigree of incoming recruits:
"Bloodlines are big. So often, it's a good indicator. It is a factor. Obviously, it's not way up the list but it certainly is something that seems to hold true. If you have a brother or father who was a big-time player, a lot of times you will follow suit."

On the impact of the 2009 Sugar Bowl victory:
"I think so, but again, only time will tell. There are several recruiting services out there, but on Rivals, it may be the highest ranked class that we've ever had. It's relative so we have to see how things work out but we definitely feel the impact of the Sugar Bowl this year more so than last year."

On recruits changing positions:
"They're all going to start where we recruited them. We have a fairly good record of telling guys that we think they fit somewhere else where they can flourish. We've had quite a few guys make good transitions. Right now, every one you see on the list is slated to play the spot they were recruited as. If they feel and we feel that they're better suited somewhere else then we'll have the conversation."

On recruiting the state of Texas:
"Twenty to 25 players is the target we look at. Texas is loaded with players. There are 120 teams in Division I college football is from Texas. The stats don't lie. There's a lot of talent in that state. It's been a lot of hard work. Morgan Scalley did a great job this year. A majority of our signing were in the Houston area. Recruiting in every part of the country is just a matter of being diligent, working hard and having a personality that players will warm up to. That's the bottom line. We'd like to do even better in Texas. We haven't had as much success in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Most likely, [quarterback coach] Brian Johnson will end recruiting in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area."

On Cullen choosing Utah over USC:
"It's big. Not only USC, but Oklahoma, Tennessee, a list as long as your arm of very good offers. Again, playing on the national platform of the Sugar Bowl and Fiesta Bowl gave us great exposure. People are starting to recognize that. We're obviously not going to win all of those battles but to be able to get a guy like John Cullen, when he had the attention and the offers that he was getting, says a lot about where we are as a program."

On signing two QB's:
"Some people say, `Why two quarterbacks?' Here's are thinking: We recruited Brian [Blechen], he's the first one we signed and we would have stopped there next year, but when Terrance [Cain] graduates, Blechen and [Griff] Robles are both tremendous athletes and could possibly change positions, and if they do and we lose Terrance, then we're down to two quarterbacks in the system next year. Also, Tyler Shreve stared growing is a tremendous player. If we an athlete at one position who could help us be better at another position, we have to make a move rather than stacking talent up at one position."

On the end of the recruiting process:
"It's nerve racking. There are a lot of phone calls to be made. There's a lot of communication because there are unlimited phone calls so you're trying to assess where you're at and what kind of shot you have with the athlete. Every year it seems to falls into place.

How different is in-state recruiting now?:
"Every year, there are more DI players in-state. That is good for the state of Utah. Our first priority is always in-state. We try to make a very conscientious effort to view every kid in the state. It's really competitive now because there are three schools in the state plus Pac-10 schools who are going after the top players."

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