BYU has been shopping for linemen this winter. Utah has been hunting for wide receivers. Utah State, like everybody else, has been on the lookout for defensive linemen. Weber State has been searching - all over the continent - for talent at any position.
The hunt for college football talent has been under way for months, but it officially ends on Wednesday, the NCAA's annual national letter-of-intent day. Then Utah's Big Four football schools will sign a number of high school and junior college football recruits to letters of intent.Here is a brief look at the recruiting plans of Utah's Big Four:
UTAH - Unlike past years, the Utes say they have no emergency recruiting to do - no positions that must be filled immediately (as was the case with the defense the past couple of years).
"We should do well with offensive linemen and three or four defensive backs," says Ute Coach Jim Fassel, who also said, "We needed to have a good year at receiver." The Utes graduated star receivers Carl Harry and Curt Jones.
Fassel says the Utes have about 28 scholarships available because "we have some left over from last year." They will sign about 21 preps and seven JC transfers.
UTAH STATE - According to Coach Chuck Shelton, the Aggies, who have already signed four JC transfers, will sign 21 high school players (as many as seven will be Utahns).
"We're at a point in our program where we've got good players in the program," says Shelton. "There was no real emphasis (on a particular position). Well, there's always an emphasis on defensive linemen. They're hard to get."
As of Monday, Shelton wasn't quite ready to assess his recruiting season. "When you get down to the wire, those last two or three become very important," he said. "We're still scrapping to get them."
BYU - "Linemen have been our priority," says Chris Pella, BYU's recruiting coordinator, so expect the Cougars to sign a number of offensive and defensive linemen, including Jim Edwards, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound all-state center and state heavyweight wrestling champion from Meridian, Idaho; and Don Goodman, a 6-foot-8, 305-pound tackle from Cerritos (Calif.) Junior College. Both have announced their intentions of going to BYU.
The Cougars also will sign a handful of wide receivers and running backs, but quarterback, according to Pella, "is not a high priority." (Brett Salisbury, to name one quarterback, will return to BYU soon from a church mission.)
According to Pella, BYU will award 22 or 23 new scholarships.
WEBER STATE - The Wildcats always sign several Utah athletes, but that didn't prevent them from looking out of state - and then some. They will sign players from Alaska and Canada, plus San Diego and Northern California.
According to assistant coach Jim Zeches, the Wildcats have "around 18 to 20 scholarships" available. About half of them will be given to Utahns. "There isn't really any one position we're concentrating on," says Zeches.