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Red and blue recruits: Reviewing Utah and BYU's 2017 classes after a wild start to December

Here's a look at BYU and Utah's 2017 recruiting classes as we near the midpoint of December.
Here's a look at BYU and Utah's 2017 recruiting classes as we near the midpoint of December.
Deseret News photos

Last week saw a flurry of action on the college football recruiting front as coaches had until Sunday night to meet with prospects in person before a month-long “dead period” began, which prevents them from having in-person meetings.

Thus far in December, the University of Utah has received four commitments for the Class of 2017, while BYU has received three for 2017 and one for 2018.

With the recent activity, let’s get caught up on where both programs stand in total in the recruiting process as Feb. 1’s National Signing Day inches closer. We’ll focus on those committed for 2017.

Utah (9 commits)

John Penisini

DT, Snow College

6-foot-1, 292 lbs.

Having committed back in March, Penisini redshirted this fall, and will have three years of eligibility remaining. The West Jordan High School graduate is listed No. 98 on’s 2017 junior college Top 100 prospects list.

Jason Shelley

QB, Lone Star High School (Frisco, Texas)

5-foot-11, 160 lbs.

The Utes secured likely the only quarterback they’ll take during this recruiting cycle on July 31. He had a stellar season for Lone Star High School, and was one of five finalists for the Landry Award, which recognizes the top player in north Texas who demonstrates positive character and leadership attributes.

Tyquez Hampton

WR, El Dorado High School (El Paso, Texas)

6-foot-2, 200 lbs.

After more than two months of getting no commitments, Utah received a pledge from Hampton on Oct. 11. Hampton was a former Washington State commit but signed his financial aid agreement with the University of Utah on Nov. 18 and will begin classes in January.

Jaylen Dixon

WR, Lone Star High School (Frisco, Texas)

5-foot-10, 160 lbs.

The day after Hampton committed in October, the Utes got a pledge from Dixon, a high school teammate of Jason Shelley’s.

Jaylon Johnson

CB, Central High School (Fresno, California)

6-foot-2, 185 lbs.

On Oct. 28, Utah received its most highly touted commitment to date when Johnson committed. Considered a Top 100 prospect by both Scout and Rivals, Johnson chose the Utes over USC and Oklahoma, among others. He had surgery a few days after committing but is expected to be ready for fall camp in 2017. He’s still visiting other schools, but appears to be solidly committed to Utah.

Michael Richardson

OL, American Fork High School

6-foot-5, 260 lbs.

Following another long drought with no commitments, Richardson opened the floodgates on Dec. 4 when he picked the Utes over a number of other Pac-12 schools. He also became the first high school player from the Beehive State to commit to Utah for 2017.

Tareke Lewis

CB, Riverside City College (California)

6-foot-1, 175 lbs.

Needing immediate help in the secondary for 2017, the Utes got a commitment Dec. 6 from a player Scout has ranked as the No. 12 overall JUCO prospect. Lewis noted on Twitter Monday night that he still plans on taking visits to other schools and that he’ll wait to sign with a school until Feb. 1, even though junior college transfers can now do so. Umana

OL, Grant Union High School (Sacramento, California)

6-foot-5, 315 lbs.

Despite serious interest from multiple Pac-12 schools, Umana committed to Utah during his official visit on Dec. 10. He comes from the same high school as redshirt freshman offensive lineman Darrin Paulo and former star running back Devontae Booker.

Ben Moos

TE, Pullman High School (Pullman, Washington)

6-foot-4, 240 lbs.

The son of Washington State University athletic director Bill Moos, Ben Moos committed to the Utes on Dec. 11, also while on his official visit to the U. campus.

BYU (16 commits)

Jackson McChesney

RB, Lone Peak High School

6 feet, 190 lbs.

McChesney committed to the Cougars clear back in August of 2015, and has told the Deseret News that his recruitment is shut down.

Isaac Rex

TE, San Clemente High School (San Clemente, California)

6-foot-4, 225 lbs.

Having committed in March, Rex marked the beginning of a string of tight ends to pledge to BYU, signaling the coaching staff’s desire to bring the position back to prominence in Provo.

Tanner Baker

TE, Alatoona High School (Acworth, Georgia)

6-foot-5, 225 lbs.

An April pledge, Baker continually affirms on Twitter his commitment to the Cougars.

Preston Lewis

DE, Lone Peak High School

6-foot-2, 225 lbs.

Lewis became the second Lone Peak Knight to commit to BYU when he did so on Memorial Day.

Ammon Hannemann

S, Lone Peak High School

6-foot-2, 190 lbs.

The third and final Lone Peak player of the class thus far, Hannemann continued a family tradition when he committed to the Cougars on June 14.

Donovan Hanna

TE, American Leadership Academy (Queen Creek, Arizona)

6-foot-5, 225 lbs.

A tight end at the school where former BYU star quarterback Max Hall is the offensive coordinator, Hanna committed a short time after Hannemann did on June 14.

Ben Bywater

LB, Olympus High School

6-foot-3, 205 lbs.

Bywater continued the mid-June flurry of commitments when he pledged on the 21st of that month.

Tariq Buchanan

WR/DB, Elgin High School (Elgin, Texas)

6-foot-2, 175 lbs.

Another June commit, Buchanan has a relationship with former Cougar wide receiver Margin Hooks. Buchanan may also play defensive back at BYU.

Seth Willis

OL, Newtown High School (Newtown, Connecticut)

6-foot-5, 311 lbs.

Willis continued the crazy June stretch with his commitment on the 28th of the month.

Bentley Hanshaw

TE, Moorpark High School (Moorpark, California)

6-foot-6, 220 lbs.

Hanshaw was the final prospect to pledge to the Cougars in June, and he was certainly the most marquee name, as he held scholarship offers from a number of Power 5 schools.

Ryan Rehkow

P, Central Valley High School (Spokane, Washington)

6-foot-4, 190 lbs.

After the craziness of June, no prospects committed until Rehkow did on Aug. 2.

Tongi Langi

DB, Bingham High School

6-foot-1, 175 lbs.

The day after Rehkow committed, Langi followed suit.

Keenan Ellis

WR/DB, Bonita Vista High School (Chula Vista, California)

6-foot-1, 175 lbs.

More than two months went by in between commitments for the Cougars until Ellis pledged on Oct. 17.

Seleti Fevaleaki Jr.

DT, Centennial High School (Corona, California)

6-foot-2, 250 lbs.

The Cougars hit another dry spell until it was confirmed on Dec. 6 that Fevaleaki Jr. had committed. Boise State was the primary competition for him.

A.J. Lolohea

LB/DE, West High School

6-foot-2, 230 lbs.

A Weber State signee out of high school, Lolohea returned from an LDS mission in July and committed to BYU Dec. 9. He is the older brother of Cougar target Jordan Lolohea, who is also considering Utah and Washington.

John Vaka

OL, Diablo Valley College (California)

6-foot-4, 270 lbs.

Vaka committed to Oregon in June, but he called BYU his “dream school.” When Ducks coach Mark Helfrich was fired on Dec. 6, Vaka announced his decommitment and pledged to the Cougars Dec. 11. He has two years of eligibility remaining.