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Top recruits to watch in Utah high school football this season

Corner Canyon’s Cody Hagen (3) runs the ball and dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the 6A football state championship game.
Corner Canyon’s Cody Hagen (3) runs the ball and dives into the end zone for a touchdown in the 6A football state championship game against Lone Peak at Cedar Valley High School in Eagle Mountain on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Corner Canyon won the game.
Yukai Peng, Deseret News

The Utah high school football season kicked off with one game on Thursday night, and it’ll get going in full force on Friday.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons to watch, but one certainly is to see players who are expected to make an impact at the collegiate level when their prep careers are over, and there are plenty in the Beehive State who are in that category.

Below is a list of 40 players to watch. Eight are top prospects who have yet to commit to a university, six are top players who have committed and the remaining 26 are players who have committed to schools (mostly BYU and Utah State) but are considered under-the-radar prospects.

Numbers in parenthesis are where the player ranks among Utah prospects, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings.


Top uncommitted prospects

Lander Barton, LB, Brighton (2): Barton is probably stuck in a lot of ways with the label of being the younger brother of NFL players Cody (Seattle Seahawks) and Jackson (New York Giants) and University of Utah volleyball star Dani Drews, but he’s a great player in his own right.

There’s expectation that he’ll continue the family tradition and go to Utah, but he’s got scholarship offers from all over the country to choose from.


Harrison Taggart, LB, Corner Canyon (5): Taggart has offers from a bunch of Power Five schools, according to 247 Sports. That includes most of the Pac-12, but some ACC and Big Ten schools have also come calling, along with Vanderbilt of the SEC.


Cody Hagen, WR, Corner Canyon (6): Hagen is continuing a family tradition of being a highly successful high school player, and he’s also being highly recruited. On July 14, he posted on Instagram that the final four schools he was deciding among are BYU, Stanford, USC and Utah. On July 30, however, he tweeted that he had just been offered by Michigan.


Carson Tabaracci, ATH, Park City (10): Tabaracci made most of his impact at running back in 2020, but he’s shown the ability to be versatile. He’s got offers from around the country, including Ohio State.


  • Other uncommitted prospects to watch

Dominique McKenzie, WR, Pine View

Marcus McKenzie, ATH, Pine View

Dallas Vakalahi, DL, West

Puna Alatini, ATH, Timpview


Top committed prospects

Devin Brown, QB, Corner Canyon (1) — committed to USC: Brown holds a unique distinction of being the top-ranked player in Utah according to 247 Sports, but he hasn’t played a down in the Beehive State, as he transferred from Arizona.

Nevertheless, Brown is committed to USC, and he showed out on a national stage earlier this summer, reportedly playing very well at the Elite 11 Finals, a top competition for quarterbacks around the country.


Ben Roberts, DL, East (3) — committed to Washington: Roberts committed to Washington in June. Should he end up signing with the Huskies, he’ll continue a recent East pipeline to Seattle, joining Jordan Lolohea, Sam Taimani and Voi Tunuufi.


Aisea Moa, DL, Weber (4) — committed to Utah: The son of former Ute Ben Moa, Aisea is primed to continue the family tradition after he committed all the way back in January.


George Maile, OL, Bingham (7) — committed to Baylor: Maile has been on the Power Five recruiting radar for quite sometime, and he pledged to former BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and Baylor in June.


Carsen Ryan, TE, American Fork (8) — committed to UCLA: Ryan started getting offers from Power Five programs right about when the pandemic began, and he committed to UCLA in March.


Noah Moeaki, LB, American Fork (9): — committed to BYU: Moeaki is by far the player who has been committed the longest, as he pledged to BYU all the way back in April of 2019. 2019!


  • Other committed prospects to watch

Jarinn Kalama, ATH, Wasatch — BYU

Maika Kaufusi, S, Alta — BYU

Joe Brown, OL, Lone Peak — Virginia

Kao Hansen, ATH, Lone Peak — Utah State

Weylin Lapuaho, OL, Bingham — Utah State

Eric Wilder, OL, Syracuse — Washington State

Peter Falaniko, OL, Pine View — BYU

Braxton Fely, DL, Timpview — BYU

Bryce Radford, OL, Green Canyon — Utah State

Micah Wilson, LB, Corner Canyon — BYU

James Aloisio, OL, Timpview — Utah State

Jacob Reece, OL, Brighton — Utah State

Vae Soifua, OL, Orem — BYU

JJ Talo, DL, Kearns — Boise State

Kaden Chidester, TE, Richfield — BYU

Trevin Ostler, ATH, Bountiful — BYU

Cannon DeVries, ATH, Weber — BYU

Maddux Madsen, QB, American Fork — Boise State

Max Alford, RB, Park City — Utah State

Maximus Fonoti Maikui, LB, Northridge — Utah State

Liutai Kinikini, LB, West — BYU

Parker Kingston, ATH, Roy — Air Force

Sam Alford, WR, Park City — Montana

Ryker Lotulelei, LB, Highland — Utah State

Chase Tuatagaloa, ATH, Orem — Utah State

Karson Lopati, QB, West — Nevada