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Coach Whittingham Announces 2013 Recruits

Kyle Whittingham told the media at his press conference that the Utes added size and speed with this class.

Kyle Whittingham told the media at his press conference that the Utes added size and speed with this class.

Feb. 6, 2013

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The Utah football staff unveiled its 2013 signing class today and it stands at 23 members, including four previously announced midyear junior college transfers who signed National Letters of Intent in December.

As an NLI may be signed only for the upcoming year, Utah's 2013 signing class includes only those members who will enroll in 2013-14. Other prospects, including those who plan to serve church missions before enrolling at Utah, did not sign NLIs today. The maximum number of signees permitted by the NCAA through the signing period (Dec. 1-May 31) is 25, down from 28 a year ago.

The bulk of Utah's 2013 signees came from California (11) and Texas (7), including three teammates from Trinity High School in Euless, Texas (defensive end Sam Tevi, offensive tackle Salesi Uhatafe and defensive tackle Keio Vaenuku). On a local front, the Utes signed three of the best instate recruits in tight end Harrision Handley (Alta), linebacker Uaea Masina (Brighton) and defensive end Filipo Mokofisi (Woods Cross), and the school expects to gain additional members from this year's instate class down the road.

Utah doubled up on high school recruits over junior college players, signing 16 prep stars and seven junior college transfers. Already enrolled in school are junior offensive tackle Andrew Albers (Orange Coast College), junior tight end Greg Reese (Arizona Western), freshman quarterback Brandon Cox (Pasadena HS) and Masina.

Utah sought to shore up a defensive line that lost three starters from 2012 by signing five defensive linemen (three tackles and two ends). Also on the priority list was running back, where three freshmen and a junior college transfer will compete in the fall.

With just one quarterback returning who has played in a college game, the Utes signed three prep stars in Cox, Conner Manning (El Toro HS/Lake Forest, Calif.) and Micah Thomas (North Shore HS/Houston, Texas).

"We definitely feel we became a bigger, faster football team with this recruiting class," said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. "Position-wise, our first priority was the defensive front and we feel as though we signed a talented group that will maintain our tradition of outstanding defensive line play for years to come. We were also able to fill in gaps at positions that were lacking in depth, most notably running back and quarterback. As is the case every year, our assistant coaches did a great job of evaluating talent and working hard to sell our program to the new recruits. We continue to make strong inroads in the state of Texas and were very pleased with the recruits we signed from there. Utah and California, our other two primary areas, yielded positive results as well."

Utah's class actually contains 24 members, including 2011 signee Tevita Bloomfield, who enrolled in school this semester. Returning off a mission and also in school is sophomore offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga. Tuimauga, who does not count in this year's NLI count, redshirted in 2008 and lettered in 2009.

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