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Utah Utes football: 2021 recruiting class (+live updates, video)

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham gives instructions during the 2019Red-White game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham gives instructions during the Red-White game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

Here is the list of official Letter of Intent signings for the Utes. Come back throughout the day as more are announced.


From national signing day

Charlie Brewer

QB — Baylor

6-1, 188

★★★

A graduate transfer, Brewer led Baylor to an 11-1 regular season, a berth in the Big 12 championship game and a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2019, when he threw for for 3,161 yards, 21 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while completing 64.5% of his pass attempts.


Chris Curry

RB — LSU

5-11, 200

★★★★

Once viewed as the heir apparent to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Curry played sparingly for LSU over the course of three seasons, including a redshirt year in 2018.

As a Tiger, Curry carried the ball 91 times for 336 yards, and also recorded four receptions for 33 yards. His best season was in 2019, when he rushed for 189 yards, averaging 5 yards per carry, much of that coming in a CFP national semifinal when he started in place of an injured Edwards-Helaire and rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries.


Ja’Quinden Jackson

QB — Texas

6-2, 232

★★★★

Jackson never played a down for Texas, spending only this past season in Austin, but was one of the prized recruits of the Longhorns’ 2020 class. 247 Sports rated Jackson the third-best dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school a year ago, while ESPN rated Jackson the No. 2 dual threat quarterback in the country and the No. 2 overall recruit from Texas, as well as the 28th-best prospect nationwide, regardless of position.


T.J. Pledger

RB — Oklahoma

5-8, 190

★★★★

In three seasons with the Sooners, Pledger rushed for 695 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His best season was this most recent one, when he rushed for 451 yards and five touchdowns.


From early signing period

Note: One of the Utes’ signees from the early signing period, athlete Velltray Jefferson, was not included on the list of Utah’s 2021 recruiting class the program released on national signing day. Ute Zone’s Steve Bartle reported Jefferson has asked for a release from his National Letter of Intent.


Elisha Lloyd

CB — Mission Hills (San Marcos, California)

5-10, 175

★★★

Described by the San Diego Union-Tribune as “an impressive athlete with a physique chiseled out of granite,” Lloyd is a one-time Washington State commit — he de-committed on Oct. 27. A multi-sport athlete — he also is a track and field star who, per the Seattle Times, ran a 10.8 in the 100 meter dash and a 22.54 in the 200 meter dash in the spring of 2018 — Lloyd was named one of the 10 fastest recruits in California by 247Sports. He was expected to move from cornerback to nickel back at WSU.


Darrien Stewart

S — Desert Pines (Las Vegas)

6-2, 190

★★★

The Utes’ only defensive back commit thus far, Stewart has recorded 59 tackles and an interception in 15 games played at Desert Pines, per Max Preps. As a junior in 2019, Stewart appeared in eight games for the Jaguars and racked up 30 tackles, his interception and a tackle for loss.


Mason Tufaga

LB — St. Louis (Honolulu, Hawaii)

6-1, 210

★★★★

Of the three linebackers currently committed to the Utes, Tufaga has arguably the highest ceiling, with the NFL a real possibility. He played an integral role for the now four-time defending state champion St. Louis Crusaders as a junior in 2019 and will graduate early and miss out on the Crusaders’ spring 2021 season.


Makai Cope

WR — Culver City (Culver City, California)

6-2, 190

★★★

A target of almost every team in the Pac-12, as well as Michigan, Boise State and Fresno State, Cope is rated as the 80th-best wide receiver in the country by 247Sports. As a junior in 2019, Cope had 46 receptions for 802 yards and nine touchdowns. In his career for the Centaurs, Cope accounted for 1,582 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition to his time at wide receiver, Cope also saw time as a defensive back.


Isaac Vaha

TE — Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove, Utah)

6-7, 230

★★★

A newcomer to football — he started playing only a year ago — Vaha has been a key cog for a successful Vikings team. In 10 regular season games this season, Vaha recorded 12 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns, while also carrying the ball four times for 55 yards (his yards per carry is the best mark on the team). Vaha has also suited up on defense at times, and his three sacks this year are the second most by any Pleasant Grove player.


Kolinu’u Faaiu

OL — North Creek (Bothell, Washington)

6-4, 315

★★★

A Polynesian Bowl alumnus and ready-made offensive line prospect, Faaiu committed to Utah in June, becoming at that time the only lineman in the Utes’ 2021 class. He chose Utah over Boise State, Colorado, Michigan State and others.


Jonah Elliss

LB — Moscow Senior (Moscow, Idaho)

6-2, 210

★★★

The son of former Utah great Luther Elliss, Jonah Elliss is the No. 91-rated outside linebacker in the country and No. 1 overall player in the state of Idaho. A versatile athlete who played both linebacker and tight end for the Bears, Jonah chose the Utes over in-state power Boise State as well as his own dad, who currently coaches at Idaho.


Peter Costelli

QB — Mission Viejo (Mission Viejo, California)

6-3, 205

★★★★

One of the top-ranked dual threat quarterbacks in California, Costelli was originally slated to join the Utes in January coming off a junior season — he will now play his senior year for Mission Viejo — where he threw for nearly 2,000 yards (1,992) and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 354 yards and four scores. A track and field star as well, Costelli has legitimate Power Five starting potential.


Viliami Pouha

DE — Bingham (South Jordan, Utah)

6-2, 230

★★★

The latest in a long line of FBS caliber defensive lineman to come out of Bingham, Pouha has been arguably the Miners’ best defender this season. In nine regular season games, Pouha racked up 48 tackles — the third-most on the team — and 8.5 sacks. He recorded double-digit tackles (10) in a win over East and has had at least one sack in seven games.


Cole Bishop

S — Starrs Mill (Fayetteville, Georgia)

6-3, 200

★★★

A one-time commit to Duke — he committed to the Blue Devils in March, before de-committing on Oct. 15 — Bishop chose the Utes over Stanford, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Georgia Tech and others. Playing primarily at safety and outside linebacker for Starrs Mill High, Bishop has helped the Panthers to a 6-1 mark through the first seven games of the 2020-21 season. Bishop is versatile as well, proving an offensive threat at times. Per Max Preps, Bishop has carried the ball 15 times for 113 yards and a touchdown in his high school career, while also recording 211 receiving yards and four touchdowns.


Ethan Calvert

LB — Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, California)

6-3, 230

★★★★

Ranked the 80th overall prospect in the country, according to 247Sports Composite rating, as well as third-best inside linebacker, not to mention ninth-best overall prospect in California, Calvert is one of, if not the best recruits in Utah’s 2021 class. Calvert is described by national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins as a “tough, physical linebacker who has made a smooth transition from safety. Carries 230 pounds easily and shows the versatility to play any of the (line)backer positions, but projects best inside.” Calvert played safety, linebacker and wide receiver for Lions.


Ricky Parks

RB — Gaither (Tampa, Florida)

5-10, 192

★★★

A two-sport athlete, Parks chose the Utes over the likes of Florida State, Penn State, Iowa and South Carolina, among others. This season, through five games, Parks has carried the ball 55 times for 379 yards, per Max Preps, for an average of 6.9 yards per carry and 75.8 yards per game. He also rushed for seven touchdowns for the undefeated Cowboys.


Tevita Fotu

DT — Snow College (Ephraim, Utah)

6-4, 299

★★★

A one-time BYU commit and former Herriman Mustang, Fotu is considered one of, if not the best, defensive linemen in the JUCO ranks. In 2019, his freshman year at Snow College, Fotu recorded 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in six games.


Trey Reynolds

LB — Queen Creek (Queen Creek, Arizona)

6-2, 235

★★★

Reynolds has been a do-everything player for Queen Creek in his high school career. He’s played quarterback and thrown for over 700 yards and seven touchdowns. As a running back, Reynolds has carried the ball 81 times for 490 yards and 16 scores. Defense, linebacker specifically, is where Reynolds has had the most success, however. As a junior in 2019, he racked up 159 tackles, an average of 12 per game. In his career with the Bulldogs, Reynolds has recorded 243 tackles, three sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions.


Zereoue Williams

OL — Mountain Pointe (Phoenix, Arizona)

6-8, 248

★★★

A two-way lineman for Mountain Pointe High, Williams spurned hometown ASU, as well as Florida State, Missouri, Tennessee and Iowa State when he chose the Utes. Williams is a top-15 rated offensive lineman in Arizona and a top-100 prospect nationally at his position. The 2020-21 season is his first playing high school football.


Returned missionaries announced by the program

  • Jonny Fanaika — 6-3, 245, DL — Pleasant Grove (Pleasant Grove High), originally signed with Utah in 2018
  • Simote Pepa — 6-3, 320, DL — South Jordan (Bingham High), originally signed with Utah in 2019.