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The top recruits to watch in Utah high school football this season

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Skyridge’s Smith Snowden (3) catches a touchdown against Fremont in Lehi on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Skyridge’s Smith Snowden (3) catches a touchdown against Fremont in Lehi on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

High school football season has once again arrived in Utah, with things scheduled to get going on Thursday night before a bevy of games on Friday.

Among the reasons to watch is to track the performances of top players who are being recruited to play collegiately at the Division I level. Here are the top 10 prospects to watch in the Class of 2023 (seniors), as ranked by 247 Sports.

Tausili Akana, edge rusher, Skyridge

6-foot-4, 225 pounds

National player rank: 34


A top 35 prospect in the entire country (just 15 have a 5-star designation), Akana holds scholarship offers from all over the country, but according to 247, Texas, LSU and especially Oklahoma are thought to be the frontrunners for his commitment.

Last year, Akana tallied 63 tackles and 13 sacks, according to the Deseret News statistical database.

Spencer Fano, offensive tackle, Timpview

6-foot-5, 270 pounds

National player rank: 53


Just outside of the top 50 prospects in the country according to 247, Fano also has a bunch of offers from all over the nation, with Utah, BYU, Miami, Michigan and Oregon getting a “Warm” designation from 247.

Hunter Clegg, edge rusher, American Fork

6-foot-4, 235 pounds

National player rank: 151


The last Utah prospect who is within 247’s list of the top 300 prospects in the country, Clegg announced on July 18 that he had committed to play collegiately for Stanford.

Smith Snowden, cornerback, Skyridge

5-foot-9, 173 pounds


The speedster holds double digit offers from Power Five programs and a whole bunch more from Group of Five schools, with Colorado, Northwestern, Utah, BYU, Stanford and Washington State receiving a “Warm” designation from 247.

Tevita Pome’e, defensive lineman, Layton Christian

6-foot-3, 315 pounds


It’s not often that a player from a small school gets on the radar of a big-time college program, but Pome’e managed to do that and committed to Oregon in April.

Taliafi Taala, offensive tackle, Alta

6-foot-5, 295 pounds


Taala is approaching double digit offers, with eight of them coming from Power Five programs (including BYU), with the ninth from Utah State. Arizona, Michigan State and Oregon State have a “Warm” designation from 247.

Pokaiaua Haunga, athlete, Timpview

5-foot-11, 200 pounds


The top player in Utah to already be committed to an in-state school, Haunga announced his pledge to BYU clear back in January of last year.

Siale Esera, edge rusher, Timpview

6-foot-3, 240 pounds


247 indicates that Esera is leaning toward committing to BYU at some point and does not indicate any other schools that may be in strong contention for him, although he has over 15 offers from Power Five programs.

Mateaki Helu, athlete, Tooele

6 foot, 200 pounds


Like Haunga with BYU, Helu has been a longtime commit to Utah — save for a very short blip because of a misunderstanding — having pledged to the Utes almost exactly a year ago.

Jr Sia, offensive tackle, Mountain Ridge

6-foot-6, 308 pounds


Sia only has four scholarship offers according to 247, but three of them — Nebraska, Utah and Virginia — are from Power Five programs, with the other coming from Utah State. Nebraska and Utah State have a “Warm” designation from 247.

Other committed players to watch

Here are the top players outside of 247’s top 10 in the state who have already committed to a school, listed in order of their ranking on 247.

  • Cade Uluave (11), linebacker, Mountain Ridge — Cal.
  • Miles Hall (13), athlete, Skyline — BYU.
  • Matthew Fredrick (14), tight end, East — BYU.
  • McCae Hillstead (15), quarterback, Skyridge — Utah State.
  • Isaac Terrell (16), edge rusher, Lehi — Washington State.
  • Ryder Burton (17), quarterback, Springville — BYU.
  • Owen Borg, linebacker (20), Corner Canyon — BYU.
  • Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio (22), athlete, Timpview — Nevada.
  • Jackson Brousseau (25), quarterback, Lehi — Colorado State.
  • Jackson Olsen (27), wide receiver, Ridgeline — Utah State.
  • Amini Amone (31), running back, East — Nevada.