SALT LAKE CITY — Utah wrapped up its 2020 recruiting efforts by adding five players to what may be the best class in program history. The Utes, who have won two consecutive Pac-12 South titles, are riding the wave of success when it comes to recruits — getting the bulk of things accomplished during last month’s early signing period.

“Our net has been cast fairly wide now. We have guys from all over the country. But more than anything else, we are able to stand toe-to-toe and win some of these battles with high-profile schools,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “If you look at our recruits and their offers, we are beating some really good schools — schools we couldn’t even be in the conversation with six or seven years ago.”

The five additions Wednesday include cornerback Faybian Marks (George Ranch HS, Texas), linebacker Jeremy Mercier (Gila River JC, Arizona), quarterback Cooper Justice (Lakeridge HS, Oregon), defensive lineman Keanu Tanuvasa (Mission Viejo HS, California) and defensive lineman Tanoa Togiai (Rigby HS, Idaho).

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Prior to the traditional National Signing Day, the Utes secured signatures from quarterback Jake Bentley (South Carolina), defensive lineman Xavier Carlton (Juan Diego HS), linebacker Graham Faloona (Southlake Carroll HS, Texas), defensive lineman Van Fillinger (Corner Canyon HS), linebacker Sione Fotu (Bingham HS); offensive lineman Alex Harrison (Viewmont HS), running back Ty Jordan (West Mesquite HS, Texas), offensive lineman Jaren Kump (Herriman HS), safety Kamo’i Latu (St. Louis HS, Hawaii), cornerback Kenzel Lawler (Eleanor Roosevelt HS, California), offensive lineman Hunter Lotulelei (Highland HS), offensive lineman Solatoa Moea’i (Punahou HS, Hawaii), wide receiver Connor O’Toole (La Cueva HS, New Mexico), wide receiver Money Parks (Aledo HS, Texas), cornerback Clark Phillips III (La Habra HS, Calif.), defensive lineman Taniela Pututau (Cottonwood HS), defensive lineman Tennessee Pututau (East HS), safety Ben Renfro (Magnolia HS, Texas), safety Nate Ritchie (Lone Peak HS), cornerback Caine Savage (Western HS, California), defensive lineman Aliki Vimahi (Kahuku HS, Hawaii), and defensive lineman Tyler Wegis (San Juan Hills HS, California).

“The class is freshmen heavy — we only took one junior college player — so we are building up the freshmen numbers. We will have 35 freshmen on scholarships for this fall, which is the most by far since I have been here at Utah.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham

“We feel really good about the class,” Whittingham said. “We have a great crop of in-state athletes this year. We signed five of the top six athletes in the state and when you combine that with four returned missionaries from in-state, nine of the 25 allocated scholarships will be going to Utah players. You aren’t going to keep every single one of them home, that is not realistic, but we feel we did a really good this year of keeping a lot of them in-state.”

Whittingham noted that the Utes also successfully recruited players from Texas, California and Hawaii — as well as Alabama, Arizona, New Mexico and Oregon this year.

“The class is freshmen heavy — we only took one junior college player — so we are building up the freshmen numbers,” he continued. “We will have 35 freshmen on scholarships for this fall, which is the most by far since I have been here at Utah.”

The Utes, Whittingham explained, have a lot of young talent in the program. He said that 53 or 54 of the players on scholarship will be freshmen or sophomores.

“So a lot of new faces you are going to see this year,” he said.

EXTRA POINTS: Utah kicks off spring ball on March 2. ... Whittingham said that Bentley, Lotulelei, Phillips, Taniela Pututau, Tennessee Pututau, Renro and Vimahi are already enrolled in school and in the program. Savage is anticipated to join the mix soon. ... Former quarterback Jason Shelley is expected to remain at safety, a position switch that was made late last season. ... Whittingham said that nine Utes have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. ... If numbers get a bit low, Whittingham said the spring game scheduled for April 11 might be a modified version.