The Utah football program has won two recruiting battles over BYU for a pair of the top prospects in the Beehive State who happen to be high school teammates.
Herriman offensive lineman Jaren Kump announced via Twitter on Sunday morning that he has committed to the Utes after having originally committed to the Cougars in June 2016, and his teammate, defensive lineman Tevita Fotu, did the same a few hours later.
We will protect this housee pic.twitter.com/q8ny0bJGVu— Tevita Kaituu Fotu (@FotuTevita) October 8, 2017
Since committing to BYU, the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Kump has become a rising name on the recruiting trail, with USC having also formally offered him a scholarship. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Fotu, who is the brother of Utah sophomore defensive tackle Leki Fotu, had originally committed to the Cougars in December of 2016.
Fotu hasn't responded to a request seeking comment, but Kump said the two hadn't jointly planned on committing to the Utes on the same day, but at the game against Stanford on Saturday night, Kump told Fotu of his plans, and Fotu said he was likely going to do the same.
"Now it's just kind of like a coincidence," Kump said. "We weren't planning on committing at the same time or heavily planning on going to play ball together either."
Kump said the Utes have been recruiting him since before he committed to BYU, but they wanted to see him play a little bit longer before offering a scholarship. He had been back-and-forth between the two schools, but decommitted from BYU before the prep season started in August and has been dialed in on the Utes over the past few weeks.
"I feel like I was probably 80 percent back a few weeks ago that I was going to go to Utah, but I wanted to make sure I was 100 percent sure before I committed, and now I feel like I'm 100 percent sure that I want to be at Utah," he said by phone Sunday afternoon.
Given he decommitted from the Cougars before the high school season started, Kump didn't know the rough start BYU get off to this fall, but insisted again Sunday that the Cougars' struggles didn't factor into his decision.
"Part of me will always love BYU," he said. "What they did for me, what they offered me, I can't give enough thanks to them. The coaches down at BYU are some of the best people that I know. It has nothing to do with their season."
Rather, it's the Ute coaching staff that won Kump over, particularly offensive line coach Jim Harding.
"I've just seen the way that he runs the offensive line program up there, and it gets me excited every time I watch," Kump said. "I know with a coach like that, with Coach Harding, I know I'll be able to become the best player I can be and be able to take my level to the next level."
Although Kump will be graduating next spring, he is planning on serving an LDS mission right out of high school, meaning he will essentially be part of the Utes' 2020 recruiting class.
Kump and Fotu are the sixth and seventh players to commit to Utah as part of its 2018 recruiting class.