The University of Utah football office has so far received one signed NCAA letter-of-intent from a December junior-college recruit for the 2002 recruiting class.
Christopher Ray Holdcraft, a 6-foot-1, 250-pound inside linebacker from Palomar (Calif.) Community College, has given Utah his autograph. He was a first-team junior-college All-American.
Also, according to a Rivals.com Web site, Utah reportedly recently received a verbal commitment from 6-4, 185 quarterback Alex Smith of San Diego's Helix High. He passed for 1,688 yards and 30 touchdowns as a senior. His team won two Division II championships and 25 of the 26 games that Smith started; it also avenged its only loss in that period, 61-28, as Smith directed one 61-28 game in which he was 10-for-12 with six touchdown passes. Helix was 12-1 in 2001.
NCAA coaches may not comment on recruits until after they have received signed letters-of-intent. Most members of the 2002 recruiting class will sign on or after Feb. 6, the NCAA signing date. Utah was expecting at least one more junior-college December signee.
Other Ute verbal commitments have come from 6-6, 220 Granger High defensive end Nano Tonga, who also had interest from local universities plus Oregon, Nebraska and Washington, and will go on an LDS mission after a year on the team; returned missionary 6-6, 230 tight end Brad Crockett of Bountiful and Viewmont High, who began at Utah on a basketball scholarship; brother Robbie Crockett, a 6-6, 250 tight end who plans to serve a mission; and 6-4, 225 Brighton defensive end/linebacker Andrew Smart, rated three stars and ranked 33rd nationally by Rivals.
The Utes have apparently lost out on 6-0, 235 Hawaiian linebacker Chad Kalilimoku, an all-conference junior-college transfer from Santa Ana, who last week gave Hawaii a verbal commitment. That surprised his mother, who told Honolulu papers she thought he was going to Utah.